Established in 1889, the MWRD is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.
MWRD will protect the health and safety of the public in its service area, protect the quality of the water supply source (Lake Michigan), improve the quality of water in watercourses in its service area, protect businesses and homes from flood damages, and manage water as a vital resource for its service area. MWRD’s service area is 883.5 square miles of Cook County, Illinois. MWRD is committed to achieving the highest standards of excellence in fulfilling its mission. It's our water environment...Take it personally.
The MWRD is located primarily within the boundaries of Cook County, Illinois. We serve an area of 883 square miles which includes the City of Chicago and 125 suburban communities, including 5.25 million people plus a commercial and industrial equivalent of 4.5 million people. The MWRD's 554 miles of intercepting sewers and force mains range in size from 12 inches to 27 feet in diameter, and are fed by approximately 10,000 local sewer system connections.
The MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Project (TARP) is one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. Four tunnel systems total 109 miles of tunnels, 9 to 33 feet in diameter and 150 to 300 feet underground. One reservoir is in operation and construction is in progress on the two remaining reservoirs.
The MWRD owns and operates one of the world’s largest water reclamation plants, in addition to six other plants and 23 pumping stations. The MWRD treats an average of 1.4 billion gallons of wastewater each day. The MWRD's total wastewater treatment capacity is over 2.0 billion gallons per day.
The MWRD controls 76.1 miles of navigable waterways, which are part of the inland waterway system connecting the Great Lakes with the Gulf of Mexico. It also owns and operates 30 stormwater detention reservoirs to provide regional stormwater flood damage reduction. The MWRD owns approximately 9,500 acres of property in Cook County for its operations.
In conjunction with its biosolids beneficial utilization and farm land application program, MWRD recycles all biosolids in land application programs in northeast Illinois.