Skip to main content

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 October 5 and 19


The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 5 and 19.

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.

Mary Schmidt Community Garden Dedication set for 11 a.m. in Alsip

The Village of Alsip hand partners will dedicate a green infrastructure project known as the Mary Schmidt Community Sanctuary on Wed., October 11 at 11 a.m., 5500 W Plattner Dr. R.S.V.P.. or call (708) 385-6902 ext. 2317.

The Village leases this 6.71-acre site along the north bank of the Cal-Sag Channel from the MWRD 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 a wonderful example of the environmental benefits provided by the District’s public recreational leases with other governmental entities. Soil amendments from the District played an important role in converting an old asphalt lot at the boat launch into a lush, fertile field of nearly three acres, designed to collect runoff and spur more tree and plant growth. The District contributed 100 semitruck loads of EQ biosolids and EQ Compost. Additionally, the site can hold up to two inches of water, which is more than 200,000 gallons of water each time it rains that previously would have runoff and flowed into the Cal-Sag Channel.

 Crestwood Flood Control Project ribbon-cutting set for Oct. 11 at noon

After two years of construction and eight years of planning, the District, Village of Crestwood and other officials will celebrate the completion of the $7.7-million Crestwood Flood Control Project on Wednesday, October 11 at noon. This project provides flood relief for 82 structures in the vicinity of 135th Street and Central Avenue. More information about the ceremony location is forthcoming.

MWRD Diverse Business Summit set for October 17 

Join the MWRD Diverse Business Summit, a must-attend event for entrepreneurs and professionals seeking to connect and collaborate with diverse businesses in the Chicago area. This event will take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at Kennedy-King College, 740 West 63rd Street, Building U, Chicago, IL from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You will have the opportunity to learn about the MWRD, the types of contracts and projects we service and why and how you can benefit and expand in your business once you become certified with us.

What makes this Diverse Summit even more valuable and unique is the access provided to our panel of experts. Our department heads will be available for one-on-one discussions about various scopes of projects and services. This should help explain how each specific piece or project fits together, as well as show how you may be a good fit for certain types of contracts, projects and/or services. Additionally, Primes, Subcontractors, Assist Agencies and Sister Agencies will be available to answer questions.

Whether you're an established business looking to expand your network or a budding entrepreneur seeking guidance, this event offers a unique platform to foster connections and promote diversity in the business community. Come network with a wide range of diverse businesses, inclusive of minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned, enterprises. Discover new partnerships, learn about upcoming opportunities, and gain insights from industry leaders through engaging panel discussions and informative and motivating workshops.


Click Here to Register 

MWRD's monthly Virtual Tour to be held
Tuesday, October 17 at 2 p.m. 

Join the MWRD on a virtual tour at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17.

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 at

MWRD to host Latinx Stewardship Day on Oct. 21 

On Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., the MWRD will host a Stewardship Day and Water Walk at Salt Creek in Possum Hollow Woods, W. 31st Street, west of S. LaGrange Road. This event will cover invasive species identification, gardening tips and techniques, and a water walk that will feature improvements made by the MWRD to the Possum Hollow Woods site. Register here:

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 MWRD, particularly in the realm of stormwater management and 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.

Latest News

MWRD hosts Latinx Heritage Month Business Reception


Topic leaders included Dana Toscano-Harder, President, INDEP; Adrian Rodriguez, Program Director, IHCC; Jacqueline Gomez, Executive Director, HACIA; Stan Bachusz, Assistant Director, MWRD Procurement and Materials Management Department; Richard L. Martinez, Jr., Acting Diversity Administrator; Malisa Torres, Diversity Officer, and Dr. Catherine O’Connor, Director, MWRD Engineering Department.

It was a night of jubilant connections, interesting discussions, and a celebration of Latinx heritage that lit up the room with warmth and unity.

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.

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

Restore the Canopy Program to end for season Oct. 25.

Complimentary red, pin, bur, black or swamp white oak saplings are available at our water reclamation plants on Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-noon through October 25.

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 in four colors for residents of Cook County. These 55 gallons barrels are doubly green as they are repurposed. Currently, the MWRD has a temporary discount for rain barrels — $21.50 each and $10.75 for people over age 65. Limited to two barrels. 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

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: Removal of remaining spoil from the demolition of the Union Loop Powerhouse just south of Van Buren on the South Branch of the Chicago River on April 9, 1920. The Sanitary District (now MWRD) acquired the Union Loop Powerhouse from the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company and was demolishing it to widen the river to a width of 200 feet.

October 2023 Calendar

Caption: A northern water snake weaves through the grasses along the Centennial Trail in Willow Springs. The trail is part of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor and runs through parts of Cook County, DuPage County and the Will County Forest Preserves and was named in 1989 in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the MWRD.

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: