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MWRD calls for green infrastructure projects

Rain garden on Longwood Drive in Blue Island. Image courtesy of MWRD

Rain garden on Longwood Drive in Blue Island. Image courtesy of MWRD

Press release from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago 

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is seeking government partners to help construct green infrastructure projects throughout Cook County.

Applications are being accepted until July 14 by the MWRD to help fund local projects that utilize green infrastructure (GI) to better manage stormwater.

GI is designed to capture water and allow it to infiltrate into the ground before it enters the traditional conveyance system. This helps to reduce the amount of water flowing through pipes that are often overwhelmed by increasingly intense rain events experienced throughout the region. The MWRD seeks local governmental entities, including municipalities, townships and county agencies, to submit potential GI projects within the MWRD’s service boundaries.

“We are excited to launch this application process to collaborate with communities on green infrastructure projects that reduce flooding and promote clean water. If your community has a potential project in mind, we want to hear from you,” said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. “As the regional authority on stormwater for Cook County, we have seen how the natural long-term benefits of green infrastructure can provide solutions to managing the stormwater that confronts our communities each spring and summer.”

The MWRD also recognizes that GI practices can supplement conventional gray infrastructure, which traditionally enlists concrete pipes to convey stormwater. GI, on the other hand, mimics the natural environment by handling precipitation where it falls by detaining and infiltrating runoff through rain gardens, permeable pavement, cisterns and other practices.

GI’s impact is not limited to flooding concerns. GI can reduce wet-weather flows to combined sewer systems, reducing combined sewer overflows to local waterways and protecting water quality in these vital waterways. GI also reduces runoff volumes and improves water quality in separate sewer service areas. In addition, GI provides social benefits that enhance the livability of communities.

“The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago acknowledges the vital role of local government in addressing flooding concerns through the innovative use of green infrastructure. They are the first to experience the influx of water and the first to be impacted by flooding concerns,” said MWRD Commissioner Martin J. Durkan. “That’s why we want to partner with these local communities to help fund and complete these projects and better prepare us for today’s emerging water concerns.”

The MWRD intends to provide partial funding towards the construction of selected GI installations on public property. Selected project partners will be expected to provide long-term operation and maintenance of the installed GI practices, among other responsibilities to be defined through intergovernmental agreements with the MWRD and the selected applicant partners. The MWRD will prioritize the submitted projects based on the project’s stormwater benefits, the capability of the applicant to operate and maintain the GI practices, and the visibility of the project in terms of providing educational opportunities amongst other factors.

Public agencies within the MWRD’s corporate limit are encouraged to submit an application using this form. Eligibility requirements and instructions are included in the application form. The deadline for submission is July 14, 2017. For more information, visit

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