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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

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For the Love of Water (FLOW) is the MWRD monthly news summary. 

Upcoming Events

MWRD Board of Commissioners July meeting
Thursday, July 11 10:30 a.m.

Board of Commissioners Portrait

The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 11.

Public comments may be made at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, during the Public Comment period. 

An "In Progress" link under the Video Column will be active when there is a meeting in session. Closed captioning is available.

Watch meeting

MWRD, North Riverside to hold ribbon-cutting at Village Commons on July 15

The Village of North Riverside and the MWRD will celebrate the completion of one of the MWRD's largest Green Infrastructure Partnership Program projects to date when it cuts the ribbon on the green parking lots at the Village Commons on July 15 at 11 a.m. at 2401 S. Des Plaines Ave., North Riverside.

Six asphalt parking lots were converted into permeable pavement. The pavement is designed to capture up to 539,000 gallons of water, diverting it from combined local sewers to mitigate flooding, basement backups and improve area water quality. One of 10 projects the MWRD selected in 2022 through our Green Infrastructure Partnership Program, the MWRD contributed $1.28 million toward the $1.53 million in improvements. The 71,000 square feet of parking spaces accounts for roughly 17 percent of the Village Commons area.

Monthly Virtual Tour set for Wednesday, July 17 at 2 p.m. 

Embark on a captivating virtual tour with the MWRD. 

Immerse yourself in the depths of the world's largest water reclamation facility, venture through the intricate Deep Tunnel system, encounter the enchanting dancing water bear, and witness the fascinating process of electrofishing in action. Delve into the rich history that defines us and discover the compelling stories that position us as a forward-thinking utility for the future. Make this an afternoon of exploration, innovation and environmental wonders.

Register for the virtual tour




Monitoring and Research Monthly Seminar set for Friday, July 26 at 10:30 a.m.

"Pilot-Scale Comparison of Synthetic Biotrickling Filter Media: Implications for Design of Full-Scale Odor Control Facilities"

On Friday, July 26 at 10:30 a.m., Warner Song, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Engineer, Los Angeles County Sanitation District Wastewater Research Section, will present "Pilot-Scale Comparison of Synthetic Biotrickling Filter Media: Implications for Design of Full-Scale Odor Control Facilities."

Warner Song

In person: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, Lue-Hing R&D Complex, 6001 West Pershing Rd., Cicero, IL. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance by emailing Dr. Heng Zhang at or call (708) 588-4264 or (708) 588-4059.

Virtual: Go to Seminars and Presentations on July 26 for the link to access the seminar.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Heng Zhang, Assistant Director of Monitoring and Research, at (708) 588-4264 or (708) 588-4059.

 The seminar is eligible for Professional Development Credits/CEUs. 

Learn more



Save the date: MWRD's Diverse Business Summit set for September 6

Date: Friday, September 6, 2024

Time: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Location: Malcolm X College, 1900 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL


Talented entrepreneurs, emerging businesses and veterans will have the unique opportunity to network with established firms and government agencies at the MWRD's Diverse Business Summit set for Friday, September 6 from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. This event offers potential vendors a valuable opportunity to learn about the MWRD, its contracts, and certification benefits. Attendees will also have the chance to meet with other contractors and government partner agencies.

Panel Discussions: Engage with industry experts and learn about current trends and opportunities in the water reclamation and stormwater management sectors.

One-on-One Meetings: MWRD department heads will be available for personalized meetings to discuss potential business opportunities.

Match-Making Session: Connect with MWRD personnel and key contractors to explore partnership possibilities.

More information will be available shortly.

Latest News

Funding announcement held with Cook County government

The MWRD Board of Commissioners and Cook County government announced the funding of 26 stormwater management projects on Monday, June 24 in front of the Main Office Building Annex, 111 E. Erie Street, Chicago. 

These projects include 16 MWRD-managed projects, thanks to $20 million in funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. 

MWRD Commissioners, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Department of Transportation and Highways Superintendent Jennifer “Sis” Killen, Crestwood Mayor Ken Klein, Maine Township Supervisor Karen Dimond, Schiller Park Mayor Nick Caiafa and other municipal leaders announced the investment.

Read more information

President Steele and Toni Preckwinkle announce stormwater management funding
President Steele and Toni Preckwinkle announce stormwater management funding

MWRD celebrates Pride with flag-raising celebration and "Pride is Power" event

On June 6, the MWRD proudly raised the Pride flag at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building in Chicago and at all MWRD water reclamation plants, marking the fifth consecutive year of this celebratory event.

Commissioners and staff celebrated the diversity and strength of the LGBTQIA+ community and reaffirmed MWRD’s dedication to fostering an inclusive workplace.

Read more about the event

Pride Flag Raising Event at all seven water reclamation plants
Pride Flag Raising Event at MOB

The MWRD continued the celebration of Pride month by hosting a "Pride is Power" celebration at the Main Office Building in Chicago on June 20.

This event encapsulated the creativity, strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Commissioners recognized Pride month 2024
Pictured (L-R): MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Vice President Theresa Flynn, President Kari K. Steele, Brandon Strawn and Adrienne Price from Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles, Commissioner Precious Brady-Davis, Commissioner Eira Corral Sepulveda and Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski.
Panelists at Pride event 2024
(L): Mona Noriega, former Chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, moderated an insightful panel discussion on the evolution of LGBTQIA+ issues—past, present, and future. She was joined by (center) Channyn Parker, CEO of Brave Space Alliance, and Roberto Sanabria, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American Hospital Association.
Commissioner Spyropoulos with Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison
Pictured: MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos and Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison.

MWRD celebrates Juneteenth with flag raising and parade 

Juneteenth Flag Raising at all water reclamation plants

Declaring its commitment to freedom, achievement and equality, the MWRD commemorated Juneteenth with a flag raising ceremony and parade participation.

Commissioners and staff paused on June 14 to reflect on the holiday and raise the Juneteenth flag at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building and at all seven water reclamation plants.  

Juneteenth is a federal holiday commemorating the end to slavery in the United States. Deriving its name from combining "June" and "nineteenth," it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for enslaved persons of African descent in Texas. This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth has since been observed annually throughout the United States, growing in recognition in the Chicago area. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, creating a federal holiday. Although the federal government did not observe Juneteenth as a national holiday until 2021, two years prior, the MWRD offered the day as a paid optional holiday, the first in Cook County to do so.

Read more about the MWRD's Juneteenth events

Commissioner Brown attends Juneteenth parade
The MWRD participated in the 10th Annual Chicago Juneteenth Parade on June 15, marching down Madison Street in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, from Francisco Avenue to Central Park Avenue, where parade organizers held a picnic.
Commissioner Brown and Cook County Commissioner Tara Stamps attend the Juneteenth parade
MWRD Commissioner Yumeka Brown (left) was joined by Cook County Commissioner Tara Stamps (1st Dist., right) and staff at the 10th Annual Chicago Juneteenth Parade on June 15.

Lockport Powerhouse Open House

Thanks to everyone who visited the Lockport Powerhouse on Saturday during Old Canal Days in Lockport on June 8! MWRD Commissioners and staff were thrilled to welcome nearly 800 visitors and educate admirers about this historic facility that protects our water environment and generates clean energy.

Read more about the event

Lockport Open House with Commissioners Garcia and Flynn and Dr. O'Connor
Lockport Powerhouse
Lockport Open House attendees
Lockport Open House
Lockport Open House attendees receive additional information
Lockport Open House attendees
Lockport Open House
Lockport Open House
Lockport Open House historical


Sign up for Overflow Action Alert text messages



Sign up to receive Overflow Action Alert text messages year round. When we announce an Overflow Action Alert, you will be reminded to reduce your use of water before, during and after a storm to help prevent excess water from entering local sewers.

Sign up for alerts

Join Our Team!  

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

If so, please visit our online employment center to register, apply and learn more about jobs and the selection process at the MWRD. We also participate 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.

Employment Center

Purchase MWRD Rain Barrels

MWRD Rain Barrels

The MWRD offers eco-friendly, low-cost rain barrels available in four colors. These 55-gallon barrels are repurposed, adding an extra layer of green to your home. Don't miss out on this opportunity to conserve water and reduce runoff while adding a splash of color to your surroundings. 

Order yours today

Watch an installation video

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. to noon through October. 

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

Learn more


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.


The Green Neighbor Guide

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. 

Download guide

What is the key to pollution prevention when it comes to are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)?

The key to pollution prevention is addressing the source of 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. 

More PFAS information

Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Dispose of your household chemicals responsibly and recycle your old computers.

The public may drop them off at the City of Chicago's permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street (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 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 accepted items

Doing Business with the MWRD

The MWRD 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 over $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 for a weekly email listing new contract announcements by emailing

Get started

Please report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors.

Call 800-332-DUMP (3867) or in Spanish 855-323-4801

Learn more

Tour an MWRD facility

Boy Scout troop tours the O'Brien plant during the Open House

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.

Schedule a tour


Historical Photo of the Month

Historical image of the Western Ave. Bridge in 1916

The Western Ave bridge on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opened for passing boat traffic on August 23, 1916.

July 2024 Calendar

A black swallowtail butterfly stops at a purple coneflower in the native prairie landscaping at the MWRD's Egan Water Reclamation Plant in Schaumburg. The MWRD has converted more than 50 acres at various facility grounds into native prairies to absorb stormwater, improve water quality, attract pollinators and provide wildlife habitat.

Download the MWRD 2024 Calendar

July 2024 Calendar page with a black swallowtail butterfly
Press Release

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: