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For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021
Special to

December 2021 | Issue 16

For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

In this edition

?Latest News

·Fitch Ratings gives MWRD another AAA bond rating

·“Climate Crisis: Saving Tomorrow,” ABC News

·"Where Does All That Water Go?" WGN 9 News

·Two new Space to Grow schoolyards completed

Upcoming Events

·December 2 - Board of Commissioners Meeting, 10:30 a.m..

·December 14 - MWRD's Monthly Virtual Tour, 2 p.m.

·December 16 - Board of Commissioners Meeting, 10:30 a.m.


·MWRD Employment Center

·Doing Business with the MWRD

·Report Waterway Blockages, Suspicious Dumping and Odors


·Historical Photo of the Month

·December 2021 Calendar

Latest News

“Climate Crisis: Saving Tomorrow,” ABC News

MWRD Assistant Director of Engineering Kevin Fitzpatrick was interviewed at the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan McCook Reservoir for an ABC News feature.

McCook Reservoir Stage I was completed in 2017 and provides 3.5 billion gallons of storage. The reservoir is one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. It captures sewage and stormwater that otherwise would have overflowed into rivers and streams and flooded communities that rely on combined sewer systems.

Once the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant has capacity to treat the water during and after storms, the water will be pumped from the reservoir to the plant and cleaned before it is released into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The McCook Reservoir is located along the Stevenson Expressway between the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Stage II will be completed in 2029 and provide 6.5 billion gallons of storage. In total, the McCook Reservoir will provide more than $143 million per year in flood damage reduction benefits to 3,100,000 people in 37 communities, along with a total capacity of 10 billion gallons.

Communities benefitting from the McCook Reservoir include: Bedford Park, Berwyn, Broadview, Brookfield, Chicago, Cicero, Des Plaines, Elmwood Park, Evanston, Forest Park, Forest View, Franklin Park, Golf, Harwood Heights, Hometown, Kenilworth, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lincolnwood, Lyons, Maywood, Melrose Park, Morton Grove, Niles, Norridge, North Riverside, Oak Park, Park Ridge, River Forest, River Grove, Riverside, Schiller Park, Skokie, Stickney, Summit, Western Springs, and Wilmette.

Watch the live stream of McCook Reservoir at this link.

"Where Does All The Water Go?" WGN 9 News

Have you ever wondered where all that water goes after a big rain?

Many Chicagoans have heard of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, or TARP. It’s also known as the “Deep Tunnel.” But not many know what it does exactly.

It first went online in 1981. It is a system of deep, large-diameter tunnels and vast reservoirs designed to reduce flooding, improve water quality in Chicago area waterways. It also works to protect Lake Michigan from pollution caused by sewer overflows. Watch the story here.

Two new Space to Grow schoolyards completed

The final two Space to Grow projects of the year have been completed bringing the total number of schoolyard transformations to 30 since 2014.

The grand total of storage volume for all 30 schoolyards is 5.6 million gallons per rain event, equal to 8.4 Olympic-size pools or 111,108 bathtubs per rain event.

All of these campus renovations reduce basement backups, reduce the load on the combined sewer system and educate students and neighbors about the types and role of green infrastructure.

The schoolyard at Isabelle C. O'Keeffe School, 6940 S. Merrill Avenue can hold 250,064 gallons of stormwater per rain event. It features a porous playground, a nature play area, several hills and rain gardens and two outdoor classrooms.

Wentworth Elementary School, 1340 W. 71st St., can hold 196,358 gallons of stormwater per rain event and includes: basketball courts, porous playground surfacing, two large rain gardens, hills, a nature-play area, and an outdoor classroom.

Space to Grow O'Keeffe

Space to Grow Wentworth

Upcoming Events

Commissioners no shore

Board of Commissioners to hold meetings in December

MWRD Board of Commissioners’ regular meetings will take place on Thursday, December 2 and Thursday, December 16 beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Public comments may be made in person at 100 E. Erie Street during the Public Comment period. Everyone is required to wear face masks, and the building will follow state social distancing guidelines.

To protect the health and safety of the public and staff during the pandemic, all individuals attending meetings of the Board of Commissioners are required to provide a government issued photo ID and proof that (1) they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or (2) they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the start of the Board Meeting.


To view the meeting, visit our website at Electronic comments will not be read during the meeting but will be provided to the Board. If you would like to view the live stream, click the "In Progress" link under the Video Column. This link will only be active when there is a meeting in session.

Join us for a live virtual tour at 2 p.m. on December 14

December virtual tour promo

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, travel back in time to early Chicago to see how we reversed the Chicago River and developed wastewater treatment technology.

Go behind the scenes and under water to see how we transform used water; descend 300 feet into the Deep Tunnel system; and watch our electrofishing crew at work sampling fish on the Chicago River.

Our virtual tours are free and open to the public. Please register at this link.


No time available on December 14? Click here to watch a one hour pre-recorded tour.


career job

MWRD Employment Center

Do you or someone you know have a love for the environment? Are you seeking a new career or looking for your first job? If so, please visit our online employment center at this link to register, apply and learn more about jobs and the selection process at the MWRD.

Doing Business with the MWRD

Want to learn how to do business with the MWRD? Visit this link to get started. You'll find many resources, including videos presented by our Director of Procurement and Materials Management and Engineering and Diversity Administrator.

The Department of Procurement and Materials Management procures materials and services required for operations in compliance with the Purchasing Act. The mission of the Diversity Section is to ensure that minority owned (MBE), women owned (WBE), small (SBE), and veteran owned (VBE) business enterprises are given equal opportunities to participate in the performance of the MWRD’s construction program and professional service contracts in excess of $100,000.

Our procurement process is designed to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, so we encourage you to register to become a vendor.

Procurement page 1

Procurement Spanish pg 1

Call 1-800-332-DUMP or 1-855-323-4801 to report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors.

Odor hotline

Odor hotline Spanish


Historical Photo of the Month

Follow us on social media to see a historical photo every day!

The South Branch of the Chicago River on July 26, 1910, looking north towards an area near 12th St. (now Roosevelt Road), taken to document the dock conditions on the west side of the river.

December 2021 Calendar

Contact the Office of Public Affairs at (312) 751-6633 to reserve a hard copy of our 2022 wall calendar.


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago |

Missed an edition of FLOW? Find past issues on our website under the "News" tab.

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For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
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Special to

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