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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

About 1,000 visitors joined the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) for interactive tours of MWRD water reclamation plants and engaged in activities with MWRD staff to observe how critical infrastructure and resourceful engineers, scientists and plant maintenance and operations staff keep the regional water environment protected.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the MWRD opened its doors to tours of its facilities for all ages. The open houses took place at the MWRD's Egan Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) in Schaumburg, Hanover Park WRP in the northwest suburb, Kirie WRP in Des Plaines and O'Brien WRP in Skokie on May 13, followed by open houses on May 20, at Calumet and Stickney WRPs in Chicago and Cicero, respectively.

"Our infrastructure is designed to collect and treat wastewater and protect the water quality of the water supply source in Lake Michigan," said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. "Without our water reclamation plants that operate 365 days a year, and 24 hours a day, and the integral people who manage them, billions of gallons of water would not be cap­tured to prevent water from flowing to unwanted places." 

Visitors could tour plant facilities, take home a free tree sap­ling or milkweed packet, drop off electronics or unwanted medicine with the Cook County Sheriffs Office, view mi­croorganisms under a microscope, craft bit beads and learn about coding, meet Analytics Lab personnel, learn about hiring and careers, and learn more about MWRD aquatic biology studies. 

The events were part of National Infrastructure Week, May 15-19, highlighting the importance of infrastructure in Americans' daily lives. The United for Infrastructure pro­gram is part of Accelerator for America Action, which ad­vocates for investment in infrastructure through a steering committee that includes the Value of Water Campaign and American Society of Civil Engineers.

"We pride ourselves on our essential work and wanted to share our story with the public," said MWRD Commission­er Mariyana Spyropoulos. "Transforming wastewater into clean water while recovering resources like energy and valu­able nutrients is the backbone of our work." 

Created in 1889 as the Sanitary District of Chicago to reverse the flow of the Chicago River and protect public health, the MWRD today is an award-winning agency responsible for treating wastewater and providing stormwater management for residents and businesses in an 882.1-square-mile service area that covers Chicago and 128 suburban municipalities. The MWRD strives to protect businesses, homes and neigh­borhoods from flood damage, clean wastewater entering wa­ter reclamation plants, manage water as a vital resource and protect area waterways and the source of drinking water in Lake Michigan. 


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.


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