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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Nearly $10 million in funds from FEMA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will help the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) complete a critical project that reduces overbank flooding for six west suburban communities.

The $77 million Addison Creek Channel Improvement Project, approved by the MWRD Board of Commissioners on July 13, is the second phase of work to accompany a 195-million- gallon reservoir the MWRD is nearing completion in Bellwood. Between the reservoir and channel improvements, the MWRD can alleviate public health and safety concerns by reducing overbank flooding to approximately 2,200 properties along the creek from Northlake to Broadview, including 1,700 properties anticipated to be removed from the regulatory floodplain. Now thanks to $9.9 million from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the MWRD is one huge step closer to breaking ground on the ambitious project. Read

“We thank FEMA and Illinois Emergency Management Agency for their generous support and Hazard Mitigation Grant funding that will allow us to complete the Addison Creek Channel Improvement Project,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “As recent record rainfall can attest, every bit of investment will go a long way to protecting our communities, and this major investment from FEMA demonstrates their commitment and partnership to addressing climate change and stormwater management.”

The HMGP funds will help the MWRD to lower, widen and stabilize the existing Addison Creek channel to allow for a higher flow of water to pass through during a flooding event, and protect neighboring residents and businesses in Bellwood, Westchester, Broadview, Melrose Park, Stone Park and Northlake. The channel improvements project will include a mix of natural channel design, gabion baskets, soldier pile walls, concrete, riprap, articulated concrete blocks, vegetation clearing and removal of three bridges to reduce debris from restricting water flow.

“FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program enables communities to implement critical mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of future disaster losses,” FEMA Region 5 Regional Administrator Tom Sivak said in a news release announcing the funding. “The improvements to the Addison Creek channel will be an important step toward reducing damage and lessening the impact on individuals and the community when future flooding occurs in this area.”

HMGP provides funding to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures following a presidentially declared disaster.

“The outstanding partnerships with FEMA through HMGP funding will help reduce the flood hazards in the Addison Creek Watershed and keep everyone safe,” said Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “This program will strengthen Addison Creek and greatly reduce the flood dangers and hazards in the six communities in Cook County Illinois.”

The 600-acre-foot Addison Creek Reservoir was partially funded through a $5 million grant from Cook County’s Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery Program from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will hold close to 200 million gallons of storage capacity and connect with the Addison Creek Channel. In addition to providing flood control benefits, the reservoir will serve as compensatory storage for the channel improvements project.

The channel improvement project will call for nearly 300 construction jobs and will comply with the MWRD’s required Multi-Project Labor Agreement and Affirmative Action Ordinance to allow equal opportunity in contracting.

“Thank you to FEMA and our partners at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for their valuable contribution and attention to this important project,” said MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia. “We look forward to completing this project and supporting these communities with resilience and shelter the next time it rains.”

Flood reduction benefits will be fully achieved when the Channel improvements are completed in summer 2026.

The MWRD and partners will commemorate the completion of the reservoir and kick off the channel improvement project with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. 2899 Washington Blvd., Bellwood, Ill. (Park along Washington Blvd.).


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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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