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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Serving the Chicago region

Aerial view of large wastewater treatment plant with various tanks and the Chicago skyline visible on the horizon
The Stickney WRP treats an average of 700 million gallons of wastewater per day and has the capacity to treat 1.4 billion gallons per day.

The MWRD treats wastewater from Chicago and 128 surrounding communities at our seven water reclamation plants (WRPs). If you live within our service area, the water that goes down your toilet, sinks, and drains eventually comes to us to be cleaned.

1.3 billion gallons of wastewater

We treat wastewater from homes and businesses throughout our 882.1-square-mile service area. We also treat stormwater from some communities. We clean an average of 1.3 billion gallons of water daily, releasing clean water to rivers and streams. 

A view at long rectangular tanks containing brownish, bubbling water at a water treatment facility
Aeration tanks at the Calumet WRP
A tank of clean water with blue skies and clouds reflecting in the water
A final settling tank at the Egan WRP


Recovering resources 

In addition to cleaning water, our WRPs recover valuable products like phosphorus, natural gas and biosolids from wastewater. Previously considered waste, these recovered resources from water are now part of our commitment to sustainability.

A worker shows off a handful of phosphorus fertilizer near a large bag inside a production facility
Phosphorus is recovered from the treatment process at the Stickney WRP.
A hand places small white bead-like phosphorus fertilizer material on a patch of soil
Recovered phosphorus is used as a slow-release fertilizer.


Ensuring water quality and protecting our waterways

We clean water to meet rigorous standards set in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits from the state of Illinois. We are proud of our excellent record of meeting our permit requirements and have received the highest awards for compliance from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

Learn what happens at a water reclamation plant.

Our work transforming wastewater into clean water has allowed more people to enjoy the waterways and has improved fish and other wildlife habitats.

A parking lot made of permeable pavers that allow rain to flow through with vans and trucks in the background
A permeable parking lot at the Stickney WRP.
A goat in the shade under a tree
Goats and sheep help maintain native prairie landscaping at MWRD facilities. 


Natural habitat and green infrastructure

Our WRPs have over 50 acres of native prairie landscaping, providing essential wildlife habitat, including the endangered monarch butterfly. Our plants also feature green infrastructure installations, including permeable parking lots, bioswales, and the largest rain garden in Illinois at our Stickney WRP.

A closeup view of a black swallowtail butterfly on a purple coneflower
A black swallowtail butterfly on a purple coneflower in the Native Prairie Landscape at the MWRD's Egan WRP.


Parks and recreation

We are committed to being a good neighbor and providing property near our WRPs for use as green space and parks by the surrounding community. Veterans Memorial Park near our Stickney plant features sports fields, a playground and forests. Lion Field near our Calumet plant hosts little league baseball, and Majewski Metro Park near our Kirie plant hosts soccer, softball and other sports. 

Watch our videos


Wastewater surveillance data

Since March 2020, at the outset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have participated in numerous studies to help researchers and public health departments analyze sewage samples. By sharing these samples, researchers can learn more about the spread of COVID-19 through our sewers and help public health experts better track this critical data. These meaningful partnerships have led to new groundbreaking research seeking to learn more about the presence of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Mpox, polio and opioids in our region’s wastewater. Our commitment to effective wastewater treatment and surveillance closely ties to our mission of safeguarding public health.

Live updates from the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System are hosted by the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Department of Public Health.