The Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO)

The Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) applies to all development within the boundaries of Cook County, Illinois, and qualified sewer construction within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries or service agreement areas. Components which are regulated under the WMO include qualified sewer construction, drainage and detention, volume control, floodplain management, isolated wetland protection, riparian environment protection, and soil erosion and sediment control. The WMO went into effect on May 1, 2014. 

On May 7, 2020, the MWRD’s Board of Commissioners adopted an amendment to the WMO including changes to allow the regional stormwater detention and volume control trading program pilot study to commence, and updates to rainfall data from Bulletin 70 (2019) to Bulletin 75. The amended version of the WMO and the redline changes are accessible through the General Information link below.

WMO Information

WMO Permit Application Forms and Fees

Electronic Submittals

Electronic Payment

The MWRD is in the process of amending the WMO.  Information about the proposed amendment can be found here.

Request to be added to our contact list to keep current with the latest WMO updates via email

If you have any questions about the WMO, contact Ms. Maureen Durkin at (312) 751-3250 or or Mr. Dan Feltes at (312) 751-3247 or

If you have any questions regarding an inspection, contact the Field Office at (708) 588-4055.

Permit Inquiries

To request a copy of an issued permit from our permit archives, please email our Permit Inquiry Inbox at The email, including a location map of the area in question along with the contact person and phone number, will initiate a search for sewer permits in that area. Please be aware that the MWRD does not issue sewer permits within the City of Chicago unless a direct connection is made to an MWRD intercepting sewer or other facility. Contact the City’s Department of Water Management for such requests.

We have a web form to submit Permit Inquiries as well, here.

Permit Determination

If you are unsure whether or not a permit is required, please contact Lolita Thompson at or 312.751.3257 with questions regarding permit applicability, permit application procedure and submittal requirements, related ordinance requirements, etc. You may be asked to submit a sketch, site plan, and/or letter to describe details of the project in order to enable us to properly answer your questions. If permit applicability is not certain, it is recommended that a permit determination letter be obtained prior to starting any construction and risking enforcement action.

To request a Permit Determination, please submit a formal request letter to Lolita Thompson.  The request should include a narrative describing the scope of the project, a site plan, and any other supporting documentation and exhibits that may help explain the scope of work proposed.  A pdf version of the letter and supporting documents should be submitted by email to  Hard copies of Permit Determination request letters are accepted, but are not processed as quickly as emailed letters due to limited on-site staffing.

Request letters can be addressed to:

Lolita Thompson
Engineering Department - Local Sewer Systems Section
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago 
111 East Erie Street, 6th Floor 
Chicago, IL 60611-2893

Permit Pre-Application Meetings

If you are working on submitting a permit that involves more complicated components such as complex stormwater systems, hazard area encroachments, or volume control trading, you can contact Mike Zigulich by email or phone at or 312.751.3157 to schedule a pre-application meeting.

Request for Revisions to Issued Permits

Requests for sewer design-related revisions to existing permits prior to completion of sewer work under the permit, or to make minor changes to stormwater detention facilities, must include:

  • A letter from the design engineer of the permit describing the design changes and the reason for the changes.
  • A letter from the municipal/system engineer of the permit granting approval of the changes.
  • A copy of revised design drawings, with each sheet signed and sealed by the permit design engineer of record (only those plan sheets that are changed).
  • A copy of all revised permit documents signed and sealed by the permit design engineer of record (if applicable).
  • Permit revision fee payment $500.00 plus $5.00 per linear foot of additional sewer length. Fees are waived for governmental sewer projects (public sewer mains, laterals for fire/police stations, libraries, etc.)

Letters requesting a revision to an issued permit can be addressed to:

Adam Witek 
Engineering Department - Local Sewer Systems Section
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago 
111 East Erie Street 
Chicago, IL 60611-2893

Currently, we are requiring PDF files of the required letters, revised drawings, and additional documentation should be submitted through the FTP site to facilitate remote review of permit revisions.  Please see our Electronic Submittals page for details.

Infiltration and Inflow Control Program (IICP)

Forms and information are available for Satellite Entities submitting their required yearly IICP documentation.

Infiltration and Inflow Control Program (IICP) Information

Watershed Management Ordinance Petitions for Variance

Article 11 of the District’s Watershed Management Ordinance allows for Petitions for Variance. Petitions for Variance received to date are:

Petition for Variance Petitioner/Location Filing Date: Comments Due By: Next Hearing Date Status
WMO-VP-21-02 Village of Schaumburg, Schaumburg, IL 3/1/2021 6/11/2021 To Be Determined Pending
WMO-VP-21-01 Hotel Mannheim Group, Rosemont, IL 1/21/2021 N/A N/A Withdrawn
WMO-VP-17-01 Fresenius Kabi, Melrose  Park 11/30/2017 12/18/2017 N/A Withdrawn

Any person may mail written comments regarding a Petition for Variance to the Clerk of the District within twenty-one (21) calendar days after publication of the petition. All written comments should be sent to the following address:

Clerk of the District
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
100 East Erie Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611