Skip to main content

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

A flood control project long discussed in Prospect Heights along Willow Road is one step closer to reality thanks to funding from the MWRD and the identification of a compensatory storage location.

An agreement approved by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Board of Commissioners calls for MWRD funding to support a flood control project that will come to the rescue of Prospect Heights residents who for years have not been able to enter or exit their homes on rainy days.

The agreement between the MWRD, City of Prospect Heights and Cook County will allow the MWRD to fund $1.8 million toward an intergovernmental collaboration to curb flooding near Willow Road at McDonald Creek Tributary A in Prospect Heights. The proposed project involves raising three area roadways (Willow Road, Hillcrest Drive, and Owen Court) and installing new culverts and compensatory storage areas. In recent years during heavy rains, about 60 homes in the area were completely inaccessible.

“Flooding is devastating to homes, businesses, and community infrastructure, and seriously disrupts residents’ lives,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “The funding from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago illustrates our commitment to flood prevention initiatives and community partnership in Prospect Heights and across Cook County.”

The Prospect Heights Flood Control Project has a total cost estimate of $3.12 million and includes design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

Willow Road Closure May 2020


"Prospect Heights is grateful to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways for our years of intergovernmental collaboration on the Willow Road flood control project,” said Prospect Heights Mayor Patrick Ludvigsen. “This partnership and investment will improve stormwater infrastructure and build resiliency for our homes and businesses near Willow Road and Owen Street.”

In June 2018, the westernmost part of Prospect Heights was ravaged by flooding after more than four inches of rain lashed the neighborhood within two hours.

"With heavier storms and a changing climate in the future,” said Commissioner Cam Davis, "improvements like the Willow Road flood control project along with what we do in our daily lives will be how we prepare for rain events of the future."

But due to Prospect Heights residents’ persistence and project partners’ intergovernmental collaboration and determination, the project is moving toward groundbreaking.

“This is a much-needed improvement, as in some years we have experienced 12-15 days of road closures,” said Prospect Heights Village Administrator Joe Wade. “It is also a complicated project, with compensatory storage demands, coordinated engineering needs with Cook County Department of Transportation, public meetings and other important considerations. MWRD staff has been with us every step of the way.”

Aerial view of Willow Rd. in Hillcrest flood control project

The Prospect Heights Flood Control Project is an example of the MWRD’s Stormwater Partnership Program in which the MWRD funds projects that address flooding through a variety of traditional engineering solutions including localized detention, upsizing critical storm sewers and culverts, pumping stations, establishing drainage ways, as well as green infrastructure. The MWRD is currently accepting applications for the Stormwater Partnership Program. Learn more and apply.

Press Release
Projects, Stormwater

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: