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

Tuesday, July 05, 2022
Special to

July 2022 | Issue 22

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

·Applications available for MWRD assistance to help manage stormwater

·Field Day 2022: MWRD and partners convene in Fulton County to advance nutrient loss reduction studies

·MWRD wins Water Research Foundation award

·IWEA and WEF shower MWRD staff and leadership with awards

·MWRD hosts inaugural Juneteenth celebration at Stickney WRP

·Friends of the Chicago River honor MWRD's work protecting Midlothian and Oak Forest

·Pride Month celebrated with flag raisings, virtual roundtable

·Hollywood descends on MWRD's main office building

Upcoming Events

·July 14 - Board of Commissioners to meet, 10:30 a.m.

·July 15 - Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, 10 a.m.

·July 19 - Virtual Tour, 10 a.m.

·July 20 - Buffalo Creek Reservoir ribbon-cutting ceremony, 11 a.m.


·Rain barrels for sale

·MWRD Employment Center

·Doing Business with the MWRD

·Become a Reporter! Report Waterway Blockages, Suspicious Dumping and Odors



·Historical Photo of the Month

·July 2022 Calendar

Latest News

Applications available for MWRD assistance to help manage stormwater

What if you could use nature to help solve flooding, preserve local jobs and create habitat? And even better, what if your community could get funding to achieve all of these benefits? Then apply for MWRD support. Applications are now available for MWRD assistance to help manage stormwater.

Now through Labor Day, municipalities and public agencies are urged to apply for funding assistance from the MWRD to support local green infrastructure projects that mitigate flooding, protect area water quality and enhance public spaces.

Green infrastructure uses natural processes such as infiltration, evaporation, and transpiration in managing stormwater to prevent or reduce the flow of water from entering sewer systems. While conventional “gray” infrastructure enlists pipes and temporary storage to manage stormwater, green infrastructure solutions, like rain gardens and permeable pavement, can store water before it slowly soaks into the underlying soil. Over the last five years, the MWRD has selected more than 80 projects. For more information, including program guidelines, partnership responsibilities and eligibility requirements, visit Applications are due by Sept. 5.

The MWRD has completed more than 60 green infrastructure projects throughout Cook County since 2015, with more than 30 in progress. In total, once complete, these projects will retain more than 14.5 million gallons of stormwater volume per rain event.

For more information, contact Holly Sauter at or

Read the full press release at this link.

?(In the photo: The Chicago Park District’s Rutherford Sayre Park is one of dozens of local community spaces that benefited from the MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Program.)

Field Day 2022: MWRD and partners convene in Fulton County to advance nutrient loss reduction studies

Water and soil experts at the MWRD joined downstate farmers and agricultural researchers to unveil new measures being assessed on how to best capture and recycle nutrients to protect downstream water quality at the Illinois Farm Bureau/MWRD Collaborative annual Field Day in Fulton County, Illinois.

This unconventional collaboration was borne out of the USEPA’s goals to reduce the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, restore and protect local and regional water quality in the Mississippi River basin, and improve land management throughout these communities. The 13,500-acre property is located in between Canton and Cuba, Illinois, about 190 miles southwest of Chicago and 40 miles southwest of Peoria. It was originally purchased in 1970 to restore strip-mined land, and 4,000 acres were converted to productive farmland. Read more here.

Top photo: MWRD Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda addresses participants at Field Day. Bottom Photo: MWRD Commissioner Chakena D. Perry shows her excitement during a Field Day tour.

MWRD wins Water Research Foundation award

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) presented Outstanding Subscriber Award honors to their most influential utility and research partners for their application of WRF research. MWRD was honored for our notable research applications, including our involvement in 22 WRF research projects and 9 ongoing studies. Read more at this link.

Pictured: MWRD Executive Director Brian Perkovich holds the WRF award presented in San Antonio, Texas on June 13.

IWEA and WEF shower MWRD staff and leadership with awards

Reuniting in person for the first time in three years, the annual Illinois Wastewater Professionals Conference held recently in Springfield also became an opportunity to highlight and honor the work of many talented and dedicated leaders at the MWRD.

The MWRD was well represented through a number of awards handed out by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA), which honored MWRD President Kari K. Steele with the 2022 Public Official Award.

Other MWRD award winners included:

(top right): Maureen Durkin, Managing Civil Engineer, received the Golden Manhole Collection Systems Award in recognition of her dedication and professionalism in promoting the collections systems field.

(bottom left): Adam Gronski, Assistant Director of Maintenance and Operations, received the Kenneth C. Merideth Memorial Award for going above and beyond as a member of IWEA throughout the years.

(bottom center): IWEA honored Associate Civil Engineer Edward Jankun with the Outstanding Young Professional Award for his contribution as a young water environment professional.

(bottom right): WEF honored Supervising Environmental Chemist Tiffany Poole with the Laboratory Excellence Award, recognizing her outstanding performance, professionalism, and contributions to the water quality analysis profession. ?Read the full press release at this link


MWRD hosts inaugural Juneteenth celebration at Stickney WRP

Spearheaded by MWRD Vice President Barbara J. McGowan, the Board of Commissioners, staff, elected officials and community members joined together to hold our inaugural Juneteenth Celebration on June 17 at the Stickney WRP. Juneteenth is an important milestone in American history as it commemorates the emancipation of African American slaves in 1865. The day symbolizes freedom, achievement, and racial equality. The road to this celebration began more than 150 years ago. Two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox courthouse in Virginia, a Union general named Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865. He informed enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they had been granted freedom almost two years earlier effective January 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was enacted. We celebrate this occasion as it is important to remember and acknowledge our past so that we can appreciate and protect our future. Secretary of State Jesse White, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, other elected officials, and dancers from the Intrigue Dance & Performing Arts Center joined us for this celebration and received resolutions from the Board in honor of their achievements.

In the photo: MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, Exec. Director Brian Perkovich, Commissioner Kimberly Du Buclet, Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia and Commissioner Chakena D. Perry pose with Intrigue Dance troup members who are holding resolutions.

On the left: Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle, MWRD Commissioner Kimberly Du Buclet, Vice President Barbara McGowan and President Kari K. Steele celebrate the MWRD's first Juneteenth celebration. On the right: MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, IL Secretary of State Jesse White, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, MWRD Vice President Barbara McGowan, and MWRD Commissioner Chakena D. Perry pause for a photo during the MWRD's Juneteenth celebration.

Friends of the Chicago River honor MWRD's work protecting Midlothian and Oak Forest

MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia and Commissioner Eira Corral Sepúlveda accepted the Chicago River Blue Award from Friends of the Chicago River on behalf of the MWRD at the Big Fish Ball on June 1. This award honors the MWRD’s work on the Natalie Creek Flood Control Project.

The Natalie Creek project, which broke ground in 2018, mitigates the costly effects of overbank flooding along 15,800 linear feet of Natalie Creek. The MWRD increased the size of culverts, widened the channel at several locations, created a new stormwater storage basin along the channel, and restored and reshaped parts of the channel with erosion control measures and sediment removal. The improvements will provide flood reduction benefits for more than 200 structures in Oak Forest and Midlothian. Read the press release at this link.

Big fish Natalie

Big fish NAtalie

(From L to R): MWRD Chairman of Finance Commissioner Marcelino Garcia and MWRD Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda accepted a Chicago River Blue award from Friends of the Chicago River Board President Sally Fletcher and Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. (Photo on left by Ian Vecchiotti)

MWRD celebrates Pride month with flag raisings, virtual business roundtable

On June 1st, the MWRD held its annual Pride Month flag raising ceremony at our main office at 100 E. Erie St., Chicago, and at each of our seven water reclamation plants. Watch the video at this link.

On June 23rd, MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Commissioners, staff and partners held a virtual business roundtable in honor of Pride Month. Panelists included: Lauren Czaja, Sales & Account Manager, Epic Popcorn; Roxanna Daniel, President and CEO Taj Development Company, Inc.; and John Lashmett, Supplier Diversity Chair, LGBT Chamber of Commerce Illinois.

MWRD Diversity Administrator Dr. Regina Berry presented "Diversity in Consulting and Construction Contracts;" Darlene LoCascio, Director of Procurement and Materials Management, discussed "How to do Business with the MWRD;" and Dr. Catherine O’Connor, Director of Engineering, presented "Current and Upcoming Contracting Opportunities."

A video of the roundtable can be found at this link.

Pictured: MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia.

Hollywood descends on MWRD's main office building

?Employees and visitors to our main office building had to doubletake last week, as we were transformed into the Chicago Police Department’s 27th District to welcome a set of about 80 producers, actors and crew members for the filming of Season 2 of the Starz show, “Power Book IV: Force.”

We appreciated the opportunity to welcome Hollywood to our facility, support many local talented filmmakers and provide a lucrative revenue stream to taxpayers. To read more about the show and filming check out this link.

Upcoming Events

Board of Commissioners to meet July 14

Pursuant to Public Act 101-0640, the MWRD will hold its Board of Commissioners Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thurs., July 14.

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

All individuals attending the meeting 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 meeting.


To view the meeting, visit our website at Click the "In Progress" link under the Video Column. This link will be active when there is a meeting in session.

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act on Friday, July 15

On Friday, July 15 at the Ping Tom Memorial Park Pagoda in Chicago, learn and celebrate how the federal Clean Water Act has impacted the Chicago Area Waterways and the communities which utilize them. Presentations begin at 10 a.m.

Joining the MWRD are representatives from the U.S. EPA, Chicago Department of Water Management, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Chapter Environmental Water Resources Institute, and Friends of the Chicago River.

This outdoor event is free, and a tour of Ping Tom Memorial Park will follow the program. Register at this link.

MWRD Virtual Tour set for Tuesday, July 19 at 10 a.m.

Our next virtual tour is Tuesday, July 19 at 10 a.m. Register at this link.

Travel back in time to early Chicago to see how we reversed the flow of the Chicago River and developed wastewater treatment technology. We'll take you behind the scenes and under water to show you how we transform water. Descending 300 feet into the deep tunnel system, you'll learn how this modern technology is protecting our water environment. You'll even get to watch our electrofishing crew at work sampling fish on the Chicago River.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony set for Buffalo Creek Reservoir expansion on July 20 at 11 a.m.

The MWRD, Village of Buffalo Grove, Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other local leaders will cut the ribbon on a project that alleviates flooding while improving public recreation spaces at Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.

The Buffalo Creek project included public access improvements, enhanced the preserve’s natural features and expanded the reservoir’s volume to mitigate area flooding. Approximately 107 structures were removed from the floodplain, while more than 2,000 structures along Buffalo Creek and the main stem of the Des Plaines River receive some form of flood reduction benefit. Through a collaborative process with the LCFPD and Buffalo Grove, the project design incorporated LCFPD’s planned improvements while offering increased stormwater protection for Buffalo Grove and surrounding communities. The MWRD expanded the reservoir by excavating over 300,000 cubic yards of material.


Every Day is Earth Day!

Thank you to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for this graphic.

rain barrels

Rain Barrels for sale

55 gallon rain barrels are available while supplies last for Cook County residents. These barrels capture rainwater from your roof to save for later use.

You can use rain barrel water to wash your car, water your lawn, or clean work boots and tools. Rain barrel water is naturally free of chlorine, lime, and calcium. Since this water is runoff from your roof, do not drink it.

By keeping this water out of the sewer system, the barrels can help prevent sewer overflows and flooding. Purchase rain barrels through the MWRD website at Rain barrel deliveries can take up to 30 days from the day an order is placed. If you have questions regarding an order, please contact the vendor at (844) 4-BARREL.

MWRD Employment Center

Are you seeking a new career or looking for your first job?

?Do you or someone you know have a love for the environment? 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. We also enjoy participating in job fairs throughout the county so stop by our table if you are in attendance!

heavy lifting pipefitter

McCook Reservoir

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

Become a reporter!

There are three ways the public can report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors. Call 800-332-DUMP (3867) or, in Spanish, 855-323-4801, on our website through iOS app

Odor hotline

Odor hotline Spanish


Historical Photo: The south cofferdam during construction of a bridge at State Street on the Chicago River on June 17, 1902. This bridge was completed in 1903 and later replaced by the current bridge in 1949.

July 2022 Calendar


Caption: The MWRD's Space to Grow partnership with the Chicago Department of Water Management, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands resulted in the transformation of 30 CPS schoolyards that present students and communities a vibrant place to play with rain gardens, outdoor classrooms and permeable surfaces that store a combined 5.6 million gallons per rain event.

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For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Tuesday, August 02, 2022
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