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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

WHO: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)

WHAT: To celebrate Chicago Water Week, the MWRD will welcome the public inside for a behind-the-scenes look at how the MWRD transforms water and protects the region’s environment. These open houses welcome audiences of all ages to give them access to the essential work performed by the MWRD. 

WHERE/WHEN: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • Sat., May 4, O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant, 3500 Howard St., Skokie 
  • Sat., May 11 Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, 6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero 
Tour at O'Brien WRP

Have you ever wondered where the Chicago region’s water flows after it leaves houses, businesses and other institutions—and how it is transformed into clean water? For the majority of Cook County, it eventually flows to one of the MWRD’s seven innovative and reliable water reclamation plants (WRPs). In honor of Chicago Water Week and partners at Current, the MWRD will open its doors to the public for tours of these facilities along with other activities.

Chicago Water Week offers a variety of independently organized events hosted by clean water advocates and partners of Current, a Chicago organization co-founded by the MWRD that works to put water innovation front and center as an economic opportunity and solution to emerging challenges brought on by climate change, water scarcity, water pollution and misuse.

At the open houses, visitors can take a behind-the-scenes look at how the MWRD cleans wastewater and manages stormwater. Staff from various MWRD departments will also be on hand to answer questions. The MWRD will distribute free oak tree saplings from its “Restore the Canopy” program and native wildflower and milkweed seeds to assist with stormwater management and the lifecycle of the monarch butterfly. 

All ages are welcome, and no reservations are required. Visitors are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and suitable attire for an industrial environment. If visitors like what they see on these abbreviated tours, they are welcome to schedule a full in-person tour or register for a virtual tour.


Created in 1889 as the Sanitary District of Chicago, the MWRD today is an award-winning, special-purpose district responsible for treating wastewater and providing stormwater management for residents and businesses in an 882.1-square-mile service area that covers Chicago and 128 suburban municipalities. The MWRD strives to protect businesses, homes and neighborhoods from flood damage, clean wastewater entering water reclamation plants, manage water as a vital resource and protect area waterways and the source of drinking water in Lake Michigan. The MWRD is known famously throughout the world for its work reversing the flow of the Chicago and Calumet River Systems, constructing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, North Shore Channel, Cal-Sag Channel, the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) and developing groundbreaking technologies to recover and reuse valuable resources to protect the planet.

Press Release
Education, Events

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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