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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Pre-applications for the Green Infrastructure Partnership Program have been temporarily closed to new applicants

How to apply


Review the program requirements

Review the program requirements below to learn about:

Program requirements

A video on how to complete your pre-application and additional details about the program is available!

Watch the webinar


Submit a pre-application form

Pre-application forms must be received by December 31, 2023 to be considered for the program.

Submit a pre-application


Finalize your application

Deadline: Spring 2024

Once full applications are made available in early 2024, applicants will be notified to finalize their application.

Full applications available early 2024

Review and feedback: Our team will review your applications and contact you with any questions and feedback. A tracking number will be assigned to reference your project.

Questions: If you have any questions on how to apply to this program or have difficulty with the online form, please contact

Green Infrastructure in the Village of Harwood Heights

The MWRD partnered with Harwood Heights in 2018 to install several green alleys in their community, providing 100,000 gallons of design retention capacity.

About the program

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) can help local government organizations pay for the construction of green infrastructure (GI) on public property in Cook County.

Green infrastructure is designed to manage stormwater by mimicking nature. It captures and stores water where it falls, allowing stormwater to infiltrate into the ground before entering the sewer system. This reduces the amount of water flowing through sewers systems that are often overwhelmed by intense rain events. It can be a way of reducing stormwater runoff and improving the water quality of our rivers and streams.

Every year, the MWRD reviews applications and selects projects for partnerships. The selected partner is responsible for their project's design, contract advertisement and award, construction, and long-term maintenance.

Program requirements


Who can apply?

Public entities that can enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the MWRD. This includes municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts, and other government organizations.

What projects are eligible?

  • Projects that manage stormwater using green infrastructure (GI) and maximize collecting off-site stormwater runoff into the GI installations,
  • Projects located within MWRD's corporate boundaries,
  • Projects located outside of the 100-yr floodplain,
  • Projects not currently under construction and not already completed,
  • Projects that have perpetual ownership and/or easements over the entire project site (or are able to secure within 6 months of selection),
  • Projects that finish design by December 31, 2024 and complete construction by December 1, 2025, and
  • Certain projects require a permit under the MWRDGC Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) or have other local, state, or federal requirements that trigger as a result of public development. Only GI provided beyond what is required by the WMO or any other local, state or federal requirements are eligible.

How can funding be used?

MWRD funding can only be used to reimburse the construction costs of GI.

Selected applicants are responsible for all remaining costs associated with the project. The following costs cannot be reimbursed:

  • Engineering and design,
  • Right-of-way and land acquisition,
  • Non-GI related construction costs (e.g. lighting improvements), and
  • Operations, maintenance, and other non-construction related costs.

The reimbursement amount to be provided to a selected project is based on the effectiveness of the proposed GI, the needs of the community, and availability of funding. Reimbursements are made via an IGA Reimbursement Form submitted at specific construction completion milestones. Supplemental documentation is required for reimbursement.

General partnership (IGA) requirements

Selected applicants, or "partners", will enter into an IGA with the MWRD. These standard requirements are applicable to all GI projects and will be included in the draft IGA:

Project design, contract administration, and construction administration
Partners are responsible for project design, contract administration, and construction administration including:

  • Obtaining all permits required for the construction of the project,
  • Completing preliminary and final design
  • Providing construction documents to the MWRD for commenting,
  • Finalizing bidding documents,
  • Bidding and awarding contracts,
  • Construction management,
  • Submitting as-built drawings to the MWRD, and
  • Installing signage that promotes GI and the MWRD's partnership programs.

Competitive bidding
The MWRD requires partners to follow the Purchasing Act for the MWRDGC, which 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 partner can utilize its own processes, the MWRD requires partners to certify that the minimum standards of the District’s Purchasing Act are met.

Multi-Project Labor Agreement (MPLA) requirement and prevailing wage
The MWRD values tradespeople and union members and has entered into the MWRDGC Multi-Project Labor Agreement with 20 different labor unions. Partners 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, as required by state law, partners must also ensure that the Prevailing Wage Act is also followed.

Affirmative Action Goals on MWRD's Reimbursement Amount
The MWRD Affirmative Action Ordinance and the tailored goals determined by MWRD's Diversity department must be 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 has tailored goals for:

  • Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE),
  • Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE), and
  • Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VBE).

After a construction contract awarded, MWRD's Diversity department will review the contractor's utilization plan identifying the MBE/WBE/VBE participation percent and certifying their qualifying status. To ensure these goals stay on track, the MWRD requires a status report and documentation be submitted with each reimbursement request.

Refer to the the Affirmative Action Ordinance Revised Appendix D and the Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Contracting Policy Requirements Appendix-V for more information.

Partners must have (or be able to obtain) perpetual ownership or easement over the project site. Partners are required to obtain all property rights necessary to complete a project. The partners 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.

Long Term Operations and Maintenance
Regular upkeep and maintenance are necessary for GI to function properly and provide the expected stormwater benefit. For that reason, partners are required to provide routine maintenance as dictated by an operations and maintenance (O&M) plan jointly developed and agreed upon by the partner and the MWRD.

The O&M plan must establish guidelines for inspecting, reporting, and maintaining the GI installed. Partners 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 partner is required to perform annual inspections and prepare an inspection report for review by the MWRD. Inspection reports must be reviewed and signed by the head of the department responsible for maintenance duties.
  • O&M must continue for the service life of the installation (typically 20-30 years).
  • The MWRD will be allowed access to the project site to perform its own inspection.

Refer to the O&M Plan for GI (Plant Based) Template and O&M Plan for GI (Permeable Pavement) Template for more information.

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

MWRD Composted Biosolids
Since 2015, the MWRD has provided composted biosolids throughout the Chicagoland area. The compost can be used as a soil amendment or conditioner for establishing native landscaping or for mixing into custom topsoil blends.

To the extent practicable, the partner may use MWRDGC biosolids in any amendments performed to the soils in the proposed project area. These biosolids will be made available free of charge and more information will be provided for interested partners.

How are applications evaluated?

The MWRD evaluates each application based on specific metrics, which include but are not limited to:

  • The amount of stormwater that can be captured and infiltrated by a green installation (ie Design Retention Capacity),
  • Impervious surface area that will be removed and/or converted into permeable surfaces,
  • Frequency and severity of flooding documented within and around the project area,
  • Funding sources, requested cost share from the MWRD, and the cost-effectiveness of the project,
  • The project's current design schedule and risk assessment for delays,
  • The Applicant's ability to maintain and operate the new installation,
  • Economic needs of the community and previous assistance from the MWRD, and
  • Compliance with federal, state and local ordinances, including all MWRD ordinances. 

Reference documents

Please visit the partnership program reference documents webpage to review the program materials and forms.

If you have any questions regarding this program and how to apply, please contact