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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Creative stormwater management solutions: La Grange Park partners with MWRD to turn intersections green

Sometimes, it is our surfaces that also serve as a shelter. When installing green infrastructure throughout Cook County, the MWRD and partnering communities have developed creative and sustainable solutions to reduce flooding, protect area water quality and capture stormwater on the spot. 

More information:

La Grange Park Green Intersection
(L to R): MWRD Principal Civil Engineer Holly Sauter, La Grange Park Village Manager Julia A. Cedillo, Public Works Director Rick Radde, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, Village President Dr. James Discipio, Village Trustee Jamie Zaura, Village Trustee Michael Sheehan, Village Engineer Mark Volk, Copenhaver Construction Superintendent Ana Austin and Assistant Village Manager Maggie Jarr.

Green infrastructure takes on many appearances

The MWRD invests in various green infrastructure projects throughout Cook County yearly to store millions of gallons of stormwater that formerly ran off surfaces, flooded communities and overwhelmed sewers and polluted waterways. Selected projects helped manage stormwater while also improving public spaces. We accomplished this water retention through various ways: school playgrounds, permeable parking lots, alleys and rain gardens. Other times, our partners have taken their creativity straight to the streets.

Addressing low-lying areas

In 2022, with support from the MWRD, the village of La Grange Park converted three intersections along Monroe Avenue into permeable surfaces. The three separate intersections at Community Drive, Robinhood Lane and Sherwood Road are part of a low-lying area in the community that has experienced flooding during heavy rains. Village officials decided to reconstruct the intersections with interlocking pavement bricks that allow water to infiltrate between the bricks and enter a specially graded stone below that holds a maximum volume of water. The project reduces the load on the sewer system and will complement plans to separate additional sewer systems to divert water to nearby Salt Creek.

Intersections protect neighbors

Between the three intersections, the partners have built over 90,000 gallons of stormwater storage capacity each time it rains. Without these systems in place, that is 90,000 gallons of water flowing through the community.

Green infrastructure funding opportunities from the MWRD 

The project is a beneficiary of the MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program. Following our annual call for projects in 2020, the village applied, and the MWRD responded by agreeing to fund more than $241,000 to complete the green intersections. Each year, the MWRD holds a call for projects in which local government organizations pitch their ideas to address stormwater management through green infrastructure. Upon selection, the MWRD helps pay for the construction of green infrastructure and offers engineering expertise.

Before and After

A new permeable intersection at Monroe Avenue and Sherwood Road is one of three green permeable intersections the Village of La Grange Park has converted, thanks to MWRD support and funding.

La Grange Park introduces green intersections - Before


La Grange Park introduces green intersections - after


Detailed view of a pattern of permeable pavers on a street with a sewer opening cover at center