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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

MWRD Board of Commissioners to meet November 2 and 16


The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 2 and 16.

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.

11th Annual Sustainability Summit set for November 7 at the Ford Calumet Environmental Center

The MWRD's 11th Annual Sustainability Summit is set for Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the Ford Calumet Environmental Center, 11555 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago. Parking is available.

This summit serves as a pivotal platform to educate the public on the vital initiatives undertaken by the District, particularly in the realm of stormwater management best practices.

The event will also celebrate excellence in sustainable landscaping, epitomizing the very best in these domains. The summit will have an impressive lineup of speakers who will share their insights and expertise. 

Registration and light refreshments start at 9 a.m., and the program will begin at 10:00 a.m.  Register here.

MWRD's monthly Virtual Tour to be held
Tuesday, November 14 at 2 p.m. 

Join the MWRD on a virtual tour at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14.

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. Register here.

Seminar set for Friday, November 17: Update on the MWRD’s Phosphorus Removal Efforts

On November 17 at 10:30 a.m., Dr. Joseph Kozak, P.E., MWRD Principal Environmental Scientist, will discuss the MWRD's progress on efforts to remove phosphorus from the wastewater treatment process. This event will be held at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant and virtually. The seminar is eligible for Professional Development Credits/CEUs. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance, and a picture ID is required for plant entry.

In person: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, Lue-Hing R&D Complex, 6001 West Pershing Rd., Cicero, IL.

Virtual: Go to Seminars and Presentations  on Nov. 10 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 or email

Latest News

Crestwood Flood Control Project ribbon-cutting held


After two years of construction and eight years of planning, the MWRD and Village of Crestwood officials and neighbors celebrated the completion of the $7.7-million Crestwood Flood Control Project on October 11. This project provides flood relief for 82 structures in the vicinity of 135th Street and Central Avenue. Read more here.

Lincolnwood Green Alley unveiled

The village of Lincolnwood unveiled its very first green alley at the intersection of Touhy Ave., North Kilpatrick and North Keating Ave. This is a significant step towards sustainable urban development.

The MWRD contributed up to $95,000 toward the permeable pavers which will collect 47,000 gallons of water per rain event. MWRD Commissioner Cam Davis joined Mayor Jesal Patel, Village Trustees Grace Diaz-Herrera and Atour Sargon, District Director for Cook County Commissioner Josina Morita, along with staff from the MWRD and the village.

They celebrated this green initiative with tremendous enthusiasm and pride. By incorporating stormwater management techniques, this sustainable space will help reduce pollution while beautifying the neighborhood.

 Village of Alsip hosts MWRD, partners to dedicate Mary Schmidt Community Sanctuary

Commissioners joined the Village of Alsip to dedicate the Mary Schmidt Community Sanctuary, 5500 W. Plattner Dr., Alsip, IL, on Oct. 11. The Village leases this 6.71-acre site along the north bank of the Cal-Sag Channel from the District for public recreational purposes, including a boat launch. This green infrastructure project converted the site’s east parking lot into a sanctuary of fertile soil, native prairie plants and trees. This project is an example of the environmental benefits provided by the District’s public recreational leases with other governmental entities.

MWRD Diverse Business Summit held 

The MWRD Diverse Business Summit was a well attended event that attracted local entrepreneurs and professionals who were eager to connect and collaborate with diverse businesses in the Chicago area.

The event took place on October 17 at Kennedy-King College. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the MWRD, various contracts and projects, and how becoming certified could benefit and expand their businesses.

Department heads were available for one-on-one discussions to provide insights into different project scopes and services.

Primes, Subcontractors, Assist Agencies, and Sister Agencies were also on hand to answer questions and provide guidance.

Learn more about doing business with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago here.

 MWRD hosts Latinx Stewardship Day

The MWRD's Latinx Stewardship event at Possum Hollow Woods in La Grange Park, IL on Oct. 21 was a day filled with excitement as we celebrated our Latinx community's dedication to environmental conservation in collaboration with the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Commissioner Eira Corral Sepúlveda along with MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia led a water walk and showed participants green infrastructure improvements thanks to our partnership with the Forest Preserves. The permeable parking lot and ground restoration were discussed as methods of storm water management.  

Participants engaged in a series of activities that included the identification and mitigation of invasive species threatening local ecosystems. They gained valuable insights into sustainable gardening practices aimed at creating a healthier environment and assisted in the removal of invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle during a controlled burn.

 WEFTEC comes to Chicago

Water professionals from across the world continued a popular tradition of arriving early to the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) to participate in a service project. This year, the volunteers held the Water Palooza educational fair and constructed a rain garden at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, 6024 W. Warwick Ave., on Sept. 29 and 30.

The WEFTEC Grand Opening Session is a highlight, and MWRD President Kari K. Steele gave welcoming remarks to thousands attending the premiere conference for water professionals.

Our Second City Sewer Crew competed in the Operations Challenge with more than 50 other talented teams from utilities across the world.

Congratulations to the team for finishing in second place in three Division 3 categories: 2nd Place Overall, 2nd Place Process Control and 2nd place in Collections.

These hard-earned honors follow months of training and years of dedication to their craft in maintaining and operating our water reclamation plants.


The MWRD was named a Utility of the Future Today once again by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), National Association of Clean Water Agencies, The Water Research Foundation, WateReuse Association and US Water Alliance. Entities are eligible to apply every three years, and this is the third time the District has been honored.

MOU signing ceremony held at Denmark Consulate

On October 3 the Consulate General of Denmark hosted a reception and MOU signing event. In addition to the MWRD, participants included the Danish Water Technology Alliance represented by the Consulate General of Denmark in Chicago and Aarhus Vand A/S of Denmark (Aarhus Water) who agreed to extend the knowledge exchange program first implemented in 2015.

Since that time, our partnership has flourished, creating a ripple effect of positive change. MWRD staff participated in fact finding exchange programs in Denmark and Aarhus Vand staff participated in knowledge exchange programs at the MWRD. 

Lessons learned include energy neutrality achievements gained by optimization, blower efficiency, and combined heat and power systems to become energy positive and advanced control systems. The MWRD retrofitted existing blowers to new turbo-blowers at both the Hanover Park and Lemont Water Reclamation Plants to achieve electrical energy savings.


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


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

**An informational webinar will be presented on Nov. 3, at 10 a.m. to assist you in completing the pre-application and to provide more information about the program.** Join the Zoom meeting here.

Add to: Google Calendar   Outlook Calendar (.ics)

Pre-Application forms are open.

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. For more information contact Holly Sauter, Principal Civil Engineer, at or call 312-286-6023.

 Applications are also open for the MWRD’s Stormwater Management Conceptual Projects & Voluntary Flood Prone Property Acquisition Program

The MWRD is accepting applications to provide technical assistance for Conceptual Projects.

New This Year: Complete a Pre-Application (Meeting Request) Form and attend a Pre-Application Meeting to be considered for a partnership.

 ·        Deadline for Pre-Application (Meeting Request) Forms is Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

 ·        Deadline for Pre-Application Meetings is Friday, Dec. 29, 2023.

 ·        Deadline for Full Applications is Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.

 Visit to apply and for additional program information.


Sign up for Overflow Action Alert text messages


Sign up to receive Overflow Action Alert text messages at this link. When we call 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.

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.

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

Please 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 South Branch of the Chicago River and the railyard for the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad viewed looking north from Eighteenth Street on September 16, 1905.

November 2023 Calendar

Caption: A black-crowned night heron searches for its next meal in the North Branch of the Chicago River at River Park, where a century-old dam was removed in 2018 as part of a restoration effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MWRD and Chicago Park District to improve upstream fish migration and recreation.


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: