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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Improved permitting process helps MWRD protect the water environment

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has launched a new online payment system to expedite processing for permit applications and other programs.

The new online system, found under “Doing Business” at, will cater to Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) permits, lobbyist registrations, and coupon purchases for high strength organic material suppliers that contribute to the MWRD’s resource recovery program. The new system of electronic payments modernizes operations for users while facilitating the MWRD’s efforts to review and issue WMO permits as staff work remotely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our online payment options will streamline operations for both our users and MWRD staff working to manage stormwater, recover resources and protect our water environment during these difficult times,” said MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita. “Thank you to our participating users.”

The MWRD’s Resource Recovery Program, adopted in 2016, strives to reduce greenhouse gases and create a more sustainable environment by offering greener alternatives for disposing material that the MWRD can recover for future productive reuse opportunities. The MWRD is currently accepting non-hazardous high strength liquid organic material (HSOM), high strength liquid waste (HSLW ), vegetative material, such as yard waste, and wood chips from qualified municipalities and industrial, trade, agricultural, and other commercial companies.

The carbon-rich HSOM improves and stabilizes the MWRD’s biological phosphorus (Bio-P) removal process, ensuring cleaner water downstream after the water is treated and released back into the environment. The by-permit-only Bio-P program brings in millions of gallons of carbon-rich material each year, ranging from spent yeast from local breweries to waste recovered from portable restrooms. The material is then safely disposed locally to reduce hauling distances and further protect the environment. The sugary and starch liquid wastes provide readily biodegradable carbon that serves as food for the phosphate accumulating organisms that work under anaerobic and aerobic conditions in the MWRD’s wastewater treatment process. These organisms work to remove organic material from wastewater and to recover more phosphorus than normal microorganisms. The MWRD then recovers nutrients that can be used later as a slow-release fertilizer. Purchase Chemical Toilet Waste (CTW ) and Bio-P coupons online. For questions, contact

Under ordinary circumstances, implementing an online payment system provides good customer service,” said MWRD Commissioner Debra Shore. “Under pandemic conditions, an online payment system is also a good public health measure.”

In addition to treating the region’s wastewater, the MWRD is the dedicated regional authority for stormwater management in Cook County. The MWRD adopted the WMO in 2013, abating the negative impacts of stormwater runoff resulting from new development or redevelopment. The WMO regulates sewer construction within MWRD’s service area and development within suburban Cook County. It provides uniform stormwater management regulations to prevent future commercial, municipal, and residential development and redevelopment projects from exacerbating flooding and protects environmentally sensitive areas. The WMO requires the first inch of rain to be captured using green infrastructure on new property development. In a few years, it has provided more than 608 million gallons of total detention. To collect permit fees, the MWRD now allows applicants to submit payments through an online system. An applicant should submit a Fee Payment Voucher form with their new permit application or resubmittal to identify the permit fees paid using the online system. A link to make the payment can be found on the WMO webpage at

The MWRD has also implemented a new online payment system for lobbyist registration. Parties interested in registering as a lobbyist with the MWRD must comply with the MWRD Ethics Ordinance. MWRD lobbyists must also confirm compliance with the Illinois Lobbyist Registration Act’s sexual harassment provisions and related training requirements. Learn more about the MWRD’s Rules and Ordinances. Learn more about the MWRD’s Office of the Independent Inspector General overseeing lobbyist participation. Each Lobbyist shall register and file reports with the Clerk as provided in Article IV of the Ethics Ordinance.

Online Payments_200612.pdf

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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.


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