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