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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Pretreatment & User Charge Program Updates

Effective January 12, 2015, the Enforcement and User Charge Sections will be reorganized into a single administrative group to handle the pretreatment and user charge programs. The purpose of this reorganization is to allow our staff to efficiently implement the new strategic goal of providing excellent customer service. This comes at a time when we are undergoing significant staff turnover, bringing fresh perspectives and experiences to the programs. 

It is envisioned that these account representatives will provide the focus and service necessary to support our User community by having complete knowledge of each User’s profile. It will also provide each User with a single contact person for pretreatment and user charge program related needs. 

Any questions regarding your account handling can be directed to the Section Leaders, Mr. Gregory Yarnik at 312.751.3044 or Mr. Edwin Ignacio at 312.751.3000.

1st Annual Industrial Waste User Survey

IWD developed a survey to allow the User community to provide feedback on our services. We welcome your feedback as we strive to continuously improve our programs. This survey was mailed with the RD-925s and is also available at:

Special Discharge Authorization

Environmental Remediation Wastewater (ERW) is defined as wastewater in the form of leachate or waters from clean-up/remediation actions pursuant to CERCLA, or sites with leaking underground storage tanks which discharge to the sewerage system and water reclamation plant. It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or allow the discharge of ERW from combined sewer areas into any sewerage system under the jurisdiction of MWRD unless such person is in possession of a current and valid Special Discharge Authorization issued expressly and exclusively for the purpose of discharging said ERW. 

The ERW Ordinance prohibits the discharge of ERW to separated sewerage systems within MWRD’s service area. Such discharges can only be conducted under terms and conditions of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Any person seeking permission to discharge ERW shall complete and submit to MWRD a Special Discharge Authorization Request (SDAR).

MWRD will consider requests for one-time discharges of contaminated groundwater, accumulated surface water, or other miscellaneous waters to the sewerage system under its jurisdiction. Such requests must comply with the following conditions:

  1. Submit a brief report on the history of the site, the reason for the request, an estimate of the volume of water to be discharged, date/duration of the proposed discharge, and description of potential contaminants.
  2. Submit a description of the location at which the discharge will enter the public sewerage system. The local municipality must approve of the discharge if their sewerage system is to be used. If access to MWRD property is required, a permit from our Law Department Real Estate Section must be secured.
  3. Submit a written statement allowing MWRD to schedule an inspection of your site in order to determine the acceptability of the proposed discharge. This submittal must include a commitment to reimburse MWRD for all costs incurred in processing your request to discharge. Estimated costs associated with a request of this type are approximately $275 for field services and $300 for administrative review of the request. Submittal of analytical results of a representative sample of the water to be discharged, including all parameters listed in Appendix B, Section 1 of MWRD’s Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance is required. Additional parameters may be required dependent on the history of the site.
  4. Approval of a request to discharge will be contingent upon MWRD’s review of analytical documentation and the results of our site inspection.
  5. If MWRD approves a request, written notification will be sent that the requested discharge is acceptable. Operations regarding the discharge to the sanitary sewerage system will be under the supervision of MWRD’s on-site representative, who must be contacted prior to the commencement of the discharge.
  6. In the event that MWRD observes any conditions subsequent to commencement of the discharge which are considered to be unacceptable, the discharge must be immediately suspended and there shall be no resumption of discharge until written notification from this office is received.
  7. During the discharge, analytical results for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS) from a representative composite sample of the discharge and measurement of the total volume of the discharge must be obtained. Report must be sent to MWRD, within 30 days of the completion of the discharge, of the BOD and SS analytical results of the samples along with the total volume of the discharge. MWRD will use the analytical results to compute the User Charge liability for the discharge.

The Environmental Remediation Wastewater Ordinance and SDAR form are available on MWRD’s website

Revised User Charge Rate Structure

As a result of the Blue Ribbon Panel review of the User Charge program in 2012 and 2013, the User Charge rate structure has been revised. Effective for the 2014 reporting year, Large Commercial-Industrial Users and Tax-Exempt Users will pay using identical rates for volume, biochemical oxygen demand, and suspended solids. User Charge administrative charges are no longer separately assessed. Significant-Industrial Users are still required to calculate their share of Pretreatment Program administrative costs using the Minimum Pretreatment Requirement Charges Worksheet.

The new User Charge Annual Certified Statement (RD-925) and other forms for the 2014 reporting year are already on MWRD’s website. The User Charge rates for 2014 and 2015 are as follows:

  2014 2015
Volume: $246.08/million gallons $250.51/million gallons
Biochemical Oxygen Demand: $245.75/thousand pounds $240.49/thousand pounds
Suspended Solids: $159.72/thousand pounds $154.08/thousand pounds
OM&R Factor: 0.436 0.391

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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