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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

WHO: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) President Kari K. Steele, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Deputy Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton, City of Chicago Department of Water Management (CDWM) First Deputy Commissioner Joel Vierya, Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) President and CEO Darlene Hightower, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Executive Director Erin Aleman, Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Report Card Executive Committee Brian Pawula and the ASCE-Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI).

WHAT: Clean water supporters, environmental advocates, and local leaders will gather and share remarks in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Clean Water Act. Refreshments and an optional tour of Ping Tom Park will follow the remarks.

WHERE: The Pagoda at Ping Tom Memorial Park (Park entrance at W. 19th St and S. Well St., Chicago, IL)

WHEN: Friday, July 15, 2022, at 10 a.m.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the Clean Water Act (CWA) will prompt new awareness for the landmark Clean Water Act of 1972 and inspire a new generation of protection for the region’s future water environment. The CWA established new legislation to regulate pollution and protect surface waters. These groundbreaking amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 provided the structure for regulating pollutant discharges into U.S. waters, gave the EPA authority to implement pollution control programs, set new water quality standards and paved the way for critical protection and planning support for Chicago area water resources.

Despite concern for a history of pollution, the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) has never been healthier. Thanks in part to the CWA, advancements at MWRD and CDWM water treatment operations, increased advocacy and planning, and the MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), the CAWS is thriving and drinking water sources in Lake Michigan are world renowned. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of TARP, which was formally adopted in 1972 as one of the largest public works projects in the world for water quality and flood control. Today the MWRD has constructed more than 110 miles of deep tunnels and three gigantic reservoirs that can store billions of gallons of water to curb water pollution and mitigate flooding for communities that rely on combined sewer systems. 

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Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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