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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Open for Business - Enroll in the MWRD’s Resource Recovery Program Now!

In the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Industrial Waste Division’s 2017 first quarter newsletter, you were introduced to the MWRD’s newly implemented Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR) process, a major component of our Resource Recovery Program. Because of increasing demand for readily biodegradable carbon in the form of high-strength organic material (HSOM) for our EBPR process, the MWRD is now accepting deliveries of trucked HSOM to our Calumet and Stickney Water Reclamation Plants (WRPs). Examples of acceptable HSOM are brewery and sugary/starchy wastes in the form of homogenous liquids or aqueous slurries with concentrations of chemical oxygen demand above 75,000 mg/L and total solids levels less than 10%. Because such HSOM is typically too concentrated to be disposed of to the sewer system, it is delivered to our WRPs by tank truck for direct addition to the EBPR process and is not subject to provisions of the MWRD’s User Charge Ordinance

The initial step toward program enrollment is the submittal of the application documents and fee, along with a mandatory analytical screening of a sample of HSOM that is of potential interest. The MWRD’s EBPR team will accept a 5-gallon liquid sample that will be analyzed for program acceptance within 30 days. If the sample is deemed acceptable, the application will be reviewed and a Delivery Authorization with Material Acceptance Agreement(s) will be issued, finalizing enrollment in the Resource Recovery Program. 

All relevant program documents and application materials may be downloaded from the MWRD’s website. Please do not hesitate to contact us at for further assistance. We are looking forward to partnering with you in our efforts to recover valuable resources from water!

Requesting a Flow-Proportional Sampling Waiver

Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) are required to conduct sampling for the semi-annual Continued Compliance Reports (RD-115) using flow proportional sampling techniques. However, for some SIUs, this requirement is either not feasible or would not produce results any more accurate than time composite sampling. To avoid situations of noncompliance or a significant additional expense for an SIU, the MWRD developed criteria for granting a flow proportional sampling waiver. The criteria for granting a waiver are based on:

  • The ability of the alternate sampling method to provide samples representative of the IU’s daily operations.
  • The frequency of the wastewater discharge (continuously or on a batch discharge).

Please note that no waiver will be granted if the SIU discharges greater than 200,000 gallons per day of processed wastewater or if it currently has, or is required to have, a primary measuring device (PMD) for any reason determined by the MWRD.

The procedure for applying for a waiver is as follows: 

  1. The request must be submitted in writing by the SIU. 
  2. Documentation demonstrating why flow-proportional sampling is not possible.
  3. Identification of acceptable alternatives with the SIU explaining how the alternative(s) will provide a representative sample of the effluent being discharged. Data demonstrating that the alternative selected provides a representative sample must be provided, such as:
    1. Flow data which demonstrates that the flow rates vary by less than 33% over the operating day. 
    2. Analytical data, comparing flow-proportional and time-proportional sampling results, which demonstrates that the analytical results vary by less than 10%.
    3. Analytical data which demonstrates the concentration of contaminants in the discharge varies by less than 10%. This could be demonstrated by analyzing a series of hourly grab samples versus a time-proportional composite sample for the regulated contaminants over the operating day.

The MWRD will evaluate the requests on a case-by-case basis and respond in writing granting a waiver and conditioning a waiver upon the use of the accepted alternative to flow-proportional sampling. These requirements will be incorporated as a Special Condition of the SIU’s Discharge Authorization (DA) during the DA renewal process. Denial of a waiver request will also be in writing and explain the reasons for the denial. Any person whose request has been denied may request for a review of the MWRD’s determination. Such request must be made in writing to the Director of Monitoring and Research, and must be received by the MWRD within 30 days of the date of notification that the waiver has been denied. 

If there are any questions regarding the flow-proportional sampling waiver, please contact the Pretreatment and Cost Recovery Section at (312) 751-3044.

User Charge Rates for the 2018 Reporting Year

On September 14, 2017, the MWRD’s Board of Commissioners approved the following User Charge rates for the 2018 reporting year, which are applicable to the Large Commercial-Industrial Users and Tax-Exempt Users:

  • Volume: $264.28 per million gallons
  • Five-Day Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): $223.03 per thousand pounds of BOD
  • Suspended Solids (SS): $136.48 per thousand pounds of SS
  • Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement Factor: 0.301

Please use the above rates when filing your User Charge Annual Certified Statement (RD-925) for the 2018 reporting year, which is due on February 20, 2019.

The RD-925 for the 2017 reporting year which is due February 20, 2018, must use the 2017 rates which is found on our website.

User Charge Workshop

A workshop to introduce the User Charge Annual Certified Statement (also known as the RD-925) for the 2017 reporting year will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from 10 to 11 a.m., at the MWRD’s Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, in the Lue-Hing Research and Development Complex, 6001 West Pershing Road, Cicero, IL. Please check your email for the invitation and respond by Wednesday, December 1, 2017. Please call (312) 751.3000 for additional information. Government-issued picture ID is required for entry.

New Confidentiality Procedures

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) statute of the state of Illinois allows the public to seek disclosure of documents submitted to or produced by public agencies. As such an agency, the MWRD maintains its records for these requests, providing confidentiality to its customers solely for the purpose of protecting proprietary commercial and financial information. Instructions for claiming confidentiality is detailed in Appendix E, Section 1 of the Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance.

This year, the MWRD began discussing a more comprehensive and accurate method for facilities to claim confidentiality. The result of these discussions is a new form titled the Request for Confidentiality of Document Submitted in Compliance with User Charge Ordinance or Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance. This form details the exact procedure for what the MWRD considers to be confidential and how to claim it on your facility’s forms.

The form can be found on the MWRD’s website. If you routinely claim confidentiality on any submittals to the MWRD, please review the form and integrate it into your practices.

Please note, submission of the form does not guarantee confidentiality. Facilities may only claim confidential that information that can be demonstrated to be proprietary to their commercial and/or financial processes. In the case of ambiguity, the MWRD may seek an opinion from the Public Access Counselor of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.


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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