The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is no longer accepting applications for the Stormwater Partnership Program. Deadline for this latest round was Friday, January 13, 2023.

Thank you for your interest in the program. If you have any questions, please email

Stormwater Partnership Program


Click here for a video about one of the Stormwater Partnership projects. 

MWRD can assist communities in addressing flooding by directly supporting their efforts through our Stormwater Program. The program funds projects in Cook County that address flooding and drainage concerns. These projects utilize a variety of traditional engineered solutions such as localized detention, upsizing critical storm sewers and culverts, pumping stations, and establishing drainage ways, alongside green infrastructure.

Projects are prioritized on their ability to reduce flooding and the number of structures benefited among other criteria. Selected applicants enter into a cost-share agreement to build stormwater projects.

MWRD and selected partnering agencies will execute an intergovernmental agreement to define the roles and responsibilities of the project development, including long term operation and maintenance responsibilities which are assigned to the partnering agency. After completion, MWRD inspects the project installation, ensuring maintenance is in line with the project’s operation and maintenance plan.

Since our initial outreach in September 2013, over 50 projects have been approved by our Board of Commissioners. The resulting projects are distributed across Cook County and include localized detention, upsized critical storm sewers/culverts, pump stations, and established drainage ways.

Project Categories

Two types of projects are typically considered for the Stormwater Partnership Program:

  • Conceptual Projects:  For communities that have stormwater problems affecting homes and businesses, but lack resources to investigate potential solutions and do not have the available capacity to do so, these projects can be submitted to MWRD for possible technical assistance in the form of preliminary engineering to investigate the problem and identify potential alternatives. 
  • Shovel-Ready Projects:  These are projects for which a solution has been identified to address flooding and the agency has initiated engineering design. Applicants will be considered for funding assistance to construct the stormwater infrastructure improvements. If identified as a potential partnership opportunity, MWRD would serve as a funding partner and it is expected that the applicant would manage the design and construction of the project.


Eligibility Requirements

 The following are the eligibility requirements for the MWRD’s Stormwater Partnership Opportunity Program:

  • Projects must be within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries
  • Project must address structure flooding, not nuisance flooding such as rear-yard or minor street ponding issues. 
  • The project must be designed to manage stormwater through storage, conveyance, and/or stream channel improvements. Providing storage should be the most important design objective. Where conveyance improvements are considered, the project must not adversely impact downstream conditions. Elements of Green Infrastructure may be used, however, projects that are primarily Green Infrastructure-related can be submitted for consideration through MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Program. 
  • The project has not been advertised for bid and has not been previously constructed.
  • Applicants must have (or be able to obtain) perpetual ownership or easement over the project site.
  • Applicants will not use funding to satisfy requirements of the MWRD’s Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) or any other local, state, or federal regulations required for a private or public development project. Please note that some projects may require a WMO permit due to their own project disturbance, a new sewer, etc. Please refer to for additional information on permit requirements.
  • The Applicant must be a public entity able to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the MWRD. Eligible public entities include municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts, and other local government organizations.
    • Projects must be bid in general accordance with MWRD’s Purchasing Act, which includes requirements to publicly advertise and award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. 
    • Projects will be required to meet MWRD’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE) requirements, and Veterans Business Enterprise (VBE) goals.
    • See the next section for cost share requirements typically included in an intergovernmental agreement.
  • The Applicant must demonstrate a willingness and capability to perform long-term operation and maintenance of the completed project.
  • The Applicant should verify the capability to perform all aspects of the project by each department within their agency or community which will take part in funding, contract administration, maintenance and other requirements of the applicant. 
  • Maintenance projects or projects that are due to lack of maintenance will not be considered.
  • All funding should be committed to the project within 6 months of selection, otherwise project may be subject to cancellation. Projects previously selected but cancelled due to lack of funding can be submitted to MWRD in the future when funding is secured.


Evaluation Criteria

The MWRD will rank submitted partnership applications using a number of criteria, but socio-economic need of the community, propensity of nearby flooding (including frequency and severity), the number of flood-prone structures that benefit from the project, and cost-effectiveness are among the most important factors. The MWRD may also consider whether Applicants are in compliance with all MWRD ordinances (for example, WMO and Inflow & Infiltration Control Program) when prioritizing projects for funding assistance.


Cost Share Funding

MWRD funding for selected projects is in the form of reimbursement of construction related costs only. The amount of funding the MWRD provides to selected projects is based on the stormwater benefits of the proposed project, the social-economic need of the community, and availability of funding. Selected applicants are responsible for all remaining costs associated with the project, including engineering, land acquisition, operations, maintenance, and other non-construction related costs.

Additional funding rules and requirements include:

  • Funds may not be used retroactively for projects already under construction.
  • Supplemental documentation such as a schedule of values indicating work completed, payroll sheets, lien waivers, and proof of payment to vendors and subcontractors (such as cancelled checks) are required for reimbursement.
  • Selected project partners are required to meet minimum affirmative action goals as set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance. These goals shall be met for any portion of the project funded by the MWRD.

General Cost Share Requirements

For shovel-ready projects that MWRD will serve as a funding partner, an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) will be drafted specifically for each selected project. The following requirements will likely be included in the IGA:

1) Selected Applicant Design, Contract Administration, and Construction Administration

The MWRD requires selected applicants to provide project design contract administration and construction administration. This includes preliminary and final design, finalizing bidding documents, bidding and awarding contracts, and construction management.

Selected applicants will also be responsible for:

  • Obtaining all permits required for the construction of the project;
  • Providing preliminary and final construction documents to the MWRD for review;
  • Submitting as-built drawings to the MWRD after construction is complete;
  • Providing a Maintenance and Operations Plan for completed project and ensuring the plan is followed.

2) Competitive Bidding

The MWRD requires selected applicants to follow its Purchasing Act, 70 ILCS 2605/11.1 et seq. The Purchasing Act requires projects to be publicly bid and establishes minimum guidelines to ensure the bidding process is conducted fairly. Among other requirements, the Purchasing Act sets minimums for bid advertisement and review periods, contract award criteria, contract bonds, and it also establishes protections against bid fraud or collusion. While a selected applicant can utilize its own processes, the MWRD requires selected applicants to certify that the minimum standards of the MWRD’s Purchasing Act are met.

For more information, refer to MWRD's Purchasing Act here.

3) Multi Project Labor Agreement (MPLA) Requirement & Prevailing Wage

The MWRD values tradespeople and union members. For this reason, the MWRD has entered into a MPLA with 20 different labor unions. Selected applicants must ensure any contractors who perform work in any of the covered trades follow the terms of the MPLA for the portion of projects receiving MWRD funding. Finally, and as required by state law, selected applicants must also ensure that the Prevailing Wage Act is followed.

For more information, refer to the MPLA and Labor Relations here.

4) Affirmative Action

The MWRD requires that the minimum goals set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance are met for the portion of the project funded by the MWRD. Failure to comply with the affirmative action requirements may result in a reduction in the amount the MWRD reimburses. In general, the MWRD’s affirmative action requirements are:

  • 20% Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE)
  • 10% Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE)
  • 10% Small Business Enterprises (SBE)
  • 3% Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VBE)

Prior to beginning construction, the MWRD requires selected applicants to submit a utilization plan identifying the MBE/WBE/SBE contractors’ participation and certifying their qualifying status.

To help selected applicants stay on track to meet those goals, the MWRD requires affirmative action status reports, lien wavers, and proof of payment (such as cancelled checks) be submitted with their reimbursement requests.

For more information, refer to the MWRD Affirmative Action Ordinance here and the MWRD Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Contracting Policy Requirements here.

5) Ownership

Selected applicants are required to obtain all property rights necessary to complete a project. The selected applicants will have complete ownership over all improvements made during and after the project. The MWRD will not accept any ownership or property interest in any part of the project or improvements.

6) Indemnification

Selected applicants will be required to indemnify the MWRD for any and all claims arising from the design, construction, maintenance, operation or ownership of the project.

7) Operations & Maintenance

Regular upkeep and maintenance is necessary for stormwater projects to function properly and provide the expected stormwater benefit. For that reason, selected applicants are required to provide routine maintenance as dictated by an operations and maintenance (O&M) plan jointly developed and agreed upon by the selected applicant and the MWRD. The O&M plan must establish guidelines for inspecting, reporting, and maintaining the project. Selected applicants will be responsible for all costs associated with operating and maintaining the project in accordance with the O&M plan.

Additional O&M rules and requirements include:

  • The selected applicant is required to perform annual inspections and prepare an inspection report for review by the MWRD. Inspection reports must be reviewed and signed/stamped by a professional engineer licensed by the State of Illinois or by an industry professional approved by the MWRD.
  • The MWRD will be allowed access to the project site to perform its own inspection.