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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Project to build resilience, educate students about green infrastructure

WHO: Water Environment Federation (WEF), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), City of Chicago, Friends of Thorp, Thorp Scholastic Academy staff and supporters

WHAT: Rain Garden construction and ribbon-cutting ceremony

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 30. Garden construction begins at 8 a.m.; ribbon-cutting set for 2:45 p.m.

WHERE: O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, 6024 W. Warwick Ave., Chicago

Each year preceding the international Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), a notable community service project is undertaken in the host cities of either New Orleans, LA. or Chicago, Ill., alternating between the two.

This year, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) community of water professionals selected O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy to cultivate and establish a rain garden used to mitigate flooding and beautify a popular community space. Garden construction will begin at 8 a.m. and will culminate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:45 p.m. WEF President Ifetayo Venner, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, State Senator Robert Martwick, and Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Andrea Cheng are among those scheduled to speak.

The WEF Students and Young Professionals Community worked in conjunction with MWRD, Thorp staff and Friends of Thorp to bring this year’s project to fruition. Titled “Today’s Water Students, Tomorrow’s Water Leaders,” the project will transform an area that floods during rain events into a beautiful, welcoming green space with a rain garden. Thorp is a Chicago public school that serves more than 840 students from kindergarten through eighth grade who live city-wide.

Over the past decade, projects have taken place at four Chicago educational institutions, including Saucedo Academy in 2019, Manierre Elementary in 2017, Pershing East Magnet School in 2015, and Haines Elementary in 2013.

Watch as volunteers complete the 2022 project Marching to a Greener St. Augustine in New Orleans, LA.

Event contacts:
WEF Community Service Project Chair: Joe Lapastora
Media Contact: Allison Fore, (312) 751-6626 or (312) 316-8436.

About WEF
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of more than 30,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Established in 1928, WEF’s mission is to inspire the water community in pursuit of human and environmental well-being. WEF’s goals are to attract and develop a passionate workforce, cultivate a purpose-driven community to sustainably solve water challenges for all, and lead the transformation to the circular water economy. Learn more at

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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