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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

For The Love of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. 

Upcoming Events

Board of Commissioners to meet August 10


The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 10. Public comments may be made in person at person at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, during the Public Comment period. 

To view the meetings, visit Click the "In Progress" link under the Video Column. This link will be active when there is a meeting in session.

MWRD, partners to cut ribbon on Addison Creek Reservoir, Bellwood, Aug. 11 

WHO: MWRD, villages of Bellwood, Northlake, Stone Park, Melrose Park, Westchester and Broadview 

WHAT: Partners are cutting the ribbon on the Addison Creek Reservoir to protect neighboring communities from flooding.

WHERE: Addison Creek Reservoir, 2899 Washington Blvd., Bellwood, Ill. Park along Washington Blvd.

WHEN: Friday, August 11, 2023 at 11 a.m.

The MWRD and partners will cut the ribbon on the first of two major projects that will provide flood control benefits for six communities in the west suburbs along Addison Creek. The 600-acre-foot Addison Creek Reservoir will hold close to 200 million gallons of storage capacity and connect with the Addison Creek Channel.

The reservoir, along with the Addison Creek Channel improvements, will reduce overbank flooding to approximately 2,200 structures along the creek from Northlake to Broadview, including 1,700 structures that will be removed from the flood plain. The reservoir will provide $116 million in flood benefits. The project received $5 million in funds from the Cook County Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program. Read more about the project at

MWRD's monthly Virtual Tour to be held Tuesday, August 22 at 2 p.m. 

Join the MWRD on a virtual tour at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 22.

Go underwater at the world's largest water reclamation facility, explore the Deep Tunnel system, meet the dancing water bear and see electrofishing in action. Learn about our history and the stories that make us a utility for the future. 

Latest News

IL Governor JB Pritzker appoints Precious Brady-Davis as newest Commissioner


Precious Brady-Davis was appointed to the MWRD Board of Commissioners by IL Governor JB Pritzker and was formally sworn-in during a ceremony on July 12. Commissioner Brady-Davis attended her first board of commissioners’ meeting the following day, going to work quickly to serve and protect 5.19 million residents relying on the MWRD’s essential services to protect the region’s water resources at a time when it is threatened by the unpredictable nature of climate change.

"I'm honored to join the board and serve the nearly 13 million people who access MWRD services every day," said Commissioner Brady-Davis. "MWRD has a responsibility to lead in environmental problem-solving while protecting the most vulnerable members of the Chicagoland region. These are both missions I have worked for throughout my life, and I look forward to continuing that work with MWRD." Read more here. 

The MWRD is accepting pre-applications from local government organizations for the Green Infrastructure Partnership Program

The MWRD partners with local government organizations to help pay for the construction of green infrastructure.

Click here to submit a pre-application form by December 31, 2023

Pre-Applications are mandatory to apply and must be on file by the deadline. Our team will review your Pre-Application Form and contact you with any questions and feedback. A tracking number will be assigned to reference your project. For more information contact Holly Sauter, Principal Civil Engineer, at or call 312-286-6023.

The MWRD seeks applicants for Excellence in Sustainable Landscaping awards

The MWRD is accepting applications from Cook County individuals and organizations for its 2023 Sustainable Landscaping Awards until August 15. The awards recognize the activities and innovations from entities such as cities and villages, schools, houses of worship, businesses and others. Qualifications for the Sustainable Landscaping award may be demonstrated through the innovative use of green infrastructure, capital investment (private and public), and public education.

Green infrastructure (GI) includes:

  • Rainwater Harvesting, i.e., through rain barrels
  • Rain Gardens
  • Native Landscaping
  • Stormwater Trees
  • Porous Pavement
  • Bioswales
  • Green Roofs
  • Greenways
  • Wetlands
  • Green Alleys, Streets, and Parking Lots

Award categories include:

  • Innovative use of GI
  • Education of residents to promote use of GI on private property
  • Best overall GI installation at a private site
  • Best overall GI installation at a public site.

Activities completed after January 1, 2018, are eligible for an award, and an individual or organization is eligible once every five years. Submittals should include figures, illustrations, a narrative, and photos to help further explain the efforts. The evaluation process may include a site visit.

Applications may be submitted at

If you have difficulties using the electronic form, please submit application packages by August 15, 2023, to

Awards will be presented at the MWRD’s 11th annual Sustainability Summit to be held this fall at the Ford Calumet Environmental Center. This event is open to the public. Registration information and list of presenters will be available soon. To learn more about previous MWRD Sustainability Summit events and award winners, visit Learn more here.

Governor JB Pritzker for declaring Cook County a disaster area

The MWRD Board of Commissioners commends IL Governor JB Pritzker for his decisive action in declaring Cook County a disaster area resulting from massive storms that took place on July 2 and 3.

This bold and necessary step demonstrates his commitment to the well-being and safety of the residents of Cook County and his ability to swiftly respond to crises. By recognizing the severity of the situation, Governor Pritzker has shown exceptional leadership in times of adversity.

Declaring Cook County a disaster area will provide much-needed resources and support to the affected communities. This designation opens up avenues for federal assistance, enabling access to additional funding, personnel, and expertise to aid in disaster response and recovery efforts. This initiative will ensure a coordinated and effective response to the challenges faced by Cook County residents, businesses and churches.

We are confident that Cook County will receive the support and resources necessary to navigate this disaster and emerge stronger.

MWRD highlighted in NACWA Peak Performance video 

The MWRD received the Excellence in Management (EIM) Platinum Recognition award and six Platinum Peak Performance awards for having six water reclamation plants (WRPs) extend a streak of more than five years of achieving 100 percent compliance in meeting National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

Despite a pandemic, torrential rainstorms, urban runoff and more than 400 billion gallons of wastewater each year, the MWRD staff has been undeterred in meeting stringent permits and its mission by transforming wastewater and stormwater into clean water to protect the Chicago region’s environment. The EIM recognition celebrates the MWRD and other utilities’ commitment to sustainable, successful programs that exemplify the attributes of effective management. The MWRD and other utilities were honored for the platinum awards during NACWA’s Utility Leadership Conference & 53rd Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky in July.

The MWRD appears at the 3.21 mark in NAWCA's Peak Performance Award video. 

Read more here:

Sean T. Kelly, Ted J. Kosowski picked to lead major MWRD Departments 

Sean T. Kelly, Director of Information Technology

Ted J. Kosowski, Director of Human Resources

Two leaders at the MWRD have been promoted to fill major roles. Sean T. Kelly was named the Director of Information Technology (IT). Kelly has more than 25 years of information technology experience, both in private and public sectors, with a strong committed background in the education and utility sectors. Kelly actively participates in local, state, and national information management forums and advisory committees in technology and cybersecurity across the water/wastewater sector. Kelly previously led IT Infrastructure and Operations at the MWRD, focusing on enterprise planning, cybersecurity, and strategic alignment.

Ted J. Kosowski was selected to serve as the MWRD’s Director of Human Resources (HR). Kosowski has over 27 years of experience in managing various human resources and safety functions in the service, manufacturing, and transportation industries. He began his career at the MWRD as a Personnel Assistant in 1997 and was promoted into various roles within the Department since that time. Read more here.

National Pollinator Week underscores the value of native plants

A renewed push to protect pollinators will help the MWRD and residents manage stormwater and improve area water quality. To earn a free pack of wildflower seeds, visit and learn more about how native plants can help protect homes and communities from flooding while also giving pollinators a habitat.


Free oak saplings available


Complimentary red, pin, bur, black or swamp white oak saplings are available at our water reclamation plants on Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-noon. 

The saplings come in one gallon pots or can be requested as bare roots in bags of 100. These must be planted within a matter of days for premium viability.

If more than 50 potted saplings are desired, delivery is available, or park districts, residents and municipalities can schedule pick ups. Learn more at

Read our "Green Neighbor Guide"

Water is one of the most valuable resources on our planet. We require clean and fresh water for drinking, cleaning, recreation and other activities. However, too much of it can become a nuisance when it causes flooding in waterways and urban areas, impacting our travel when roads are flooded and even damaging our homes and businesses.

While there are myriad ways to be a Green Neighbor—some actions can be as simple as not over-fertilizing your lawn and garden, washing and maintaining your vehicles properly, or planting a native tree—our "Green Neighbor Guide" focuses on stormwater management projects that you can build or install on your property.

The guide provides detailed instructions for disconnecting downspouts; installing rain barrels or cisterns to capture stormwater for reuse; installing dry wells and rain gardens to allow stormwater to filter into the ground; and replacing asphalt and concrete surfaces with permeable paving to reduce stormwater runoff.

MWRD Rain Barrel program

The MWRD offers low cost rain barrels. These 55 gallons barrels are doubly green as they are repurposed and come in four colors.

Order yours online at

What are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade fluorinated compounds that are designed to be stable and have been in commercial use since the 1940s. The stability of the chemicals makes them difficult to degrade which is why they are often called “forever chemicals.” PFAS are in countless commercial, consumer, and industrial products and are acknowledged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be widely present in the environment.

Like other water utilities across the U.S., the MWRD is addressing how best to manage PFAS in the water environment. The MWRD’s seven water reclamation plants (WRPs) do not produce nor use PFAS but are passive receivers of these chemicals discharged to local sewers.

Wastewater can contain trace amounts of these chemicals from industrial, commercial and household sources. The MWRD’s WRPs were not designed to remove these chemicals during the treatment process. The use of nonstick cookware, cosmetics and sunscreens, washing clothes, and putting out fires with certain foams can all introduce PFAS into the environment.

The MWRD is closely following and proceeding based on the developing science on the potential impacts of PFAS. The key to pollution prevention is addressing the source of PFAS. The MWRD is working to identify and reduce industrial discharges of PFAS, learning how the discharge from these sources can be reduced and encouraging federal and state regulators to focus on stopping these chemicals at the source. The MWRD’s pretreatment program regulates industrial discharges to protect the treatment process and valuable resources the MWRD recovers. Visit the webpage for more information here.

Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Dispose of your household chemicals responsibly and recycle your old computers by dropping them off at the City’s permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street, Chicago (two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street).

Household chemicals and computers often contain hazardous substances, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which can contaminate our air, soil and water. Through proper disposal methods or recycling, these hazardous substances are reprocessed and reused in an environmentally-responsible manner.

The Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility accepts a range of items, including household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computers and related equipment to name a few. It does not accept business/commercial sector wastes, explosives, fireworks or latex paint. 

During business hours, an attendant will be ready to help unload your vehicle and accept your materials. Materials should not be left outside the facility unattended. Scheduled business hours are:

  • Tuesdays 7 am - Noon
  • Thursdays 2 pm - 7 pm
  • The first Saturday of every month 8 am - 3 pm

See which items will be accepted by visiting this link.

MWRD Employment Center

Are you seeking a new career or looking for your first job?

If so, please visit our online employment center at this link to register, apply and learn more about jobs and the selection process at the MWRD. We also enjoy participating in job fairs throughout the county so stop by our table if you are in attendance!  Staff in a variety of job classifications were interviewed to discuss their background and work that they do. The videos can be found on the MWRD YouTube page at:

Click here to enter our Employment Center

Doing Business with the MWRD

Want to learn how to do business with the MWRD? Visit this link to get started. 

The Department of Procurement and Materials Management procures materials and services required for operations in compliance with the Purchasing Act. The mission of the Diversity Section is to ensure that minority owned (MBE), women owned (WBE), small (SBE), and veteran owned (VBE) business enterprises are given equal opportunities to participate in the performance of the MWRD’s construction program and professional service contracts in excess of $100,000.

Our procurement process is designed to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, so we encourage you to register to become a vendor. Sign up to receive a weekly email listing new contract announcements by emailing

Report waterway blockages, suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers and odors

There are multiple ways the public can report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors

  1. Call 800-332-DUMP (3867) or, in Spanish, 855-323-4801
  2. Visit our website 

Tour a MWRD facility

The MWRD is the wastewater treatment and stormwater management agency for Chicago and 128 suburban communities within Cook County, Illinois. We work to mitigate flooding and convert wastewater into valuable resources like clean water, phosphorus, biosolids and natural gas.

If you live within our service area, the water that goes down your toilet, sinks and drains eventually comes to us to be cleaned. Nearly 500 billion gallons of wastewater is treated by our seven water reclamation plants every year. The MWRD's total wastewater treatment capacity is over 2.0 billion gallons per day. Learn more about the work of the MWRD on our YouTube channel or schedule a group tour and/or visit us virtually. Learn more at


Historical Photo of the Month


Historical Photo: The North Branch of the Chicago River looking north towards the Belmont Avenue bridge showing boats and a shipyard on May 27, 1920.

August 2023 Calendar

Caption: Native prairies are a big part of the MWRD's green infrastructure plans, featuring plants that thrive in the regional climate, absorb more rainwater with deeper roots than most plants, and provide habitats for other pollinators and animals.

While supplies last, please contact for a 2023 wall calendar.


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.


For more information: