U.S. Rep. Casten, Lyons Township leaders hear MWRD plans

News & Events | May 7th, 2024

At a forum hosted by Lyons Township with U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (6th Dist.), leaders with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) highlighted numerous projects and partnerships in the area aimed at assisting local communities with solutions to help mitigate the impacts of flooding and protect regional water quality.

The Lunch and Learn event entitled “Charting 135 Years of Environmental Transformation” on Feb. 26 allowed MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski and MWRD engineers the opportunity to showcase the many projects the MWRD has invested in to promote climate resiliency.

“We count on partners like the local townships and municipalities, along with federal, state, and Cook County agencies to leverage our resources to protect our health and water environment,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “We thank our partners at Lyons Township, Rep. Casten and the many local communities calling this township and district home. Because of this collaboration, we have created a path toward sustainability and protection of the water environment.”

In Lyons Township alone, in less than a decade, the MWRD has completed or working toward the completion of more than $38 million in stormwater management projects. These investments will benefit an estimated 696 homes, businesses and structures throughout Lyons Township communities. The MWRD recently secured over $4 million dollars through an agreement with Cook County and their American Rescue Plan Act funding towards projects within the area of Lyons Township.

“The MWRD has been busy advancing critical stormwater improvements that benefit all of our constituents here in Lyons Township and beyond,” said Vice President Flynn. “These projects range from small-scale green infrastructure improvements that reduce the amount of runoff entering local sewer systems, to medium-sized local partnership projects that help manage and slow down stormwater, and large-scale infrastructure like our Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP).”

TARP, or Deep Tunnel, as it is known, is a vast network of more than 110 miles of deep tunnel running 300 feet below us and 3 massive reservoirs that protect area waterways and the source of our drinking water in Lake Michigan. Since the MWRD first introduced tunnel segments in the early 1980s, MWRD officials estimate they have captured more than 1 trillion gallons of stormwater and sewage that without this system in place, could have overwhelmed the environment and communities serviced by combined sewer systems.

Despite the recent threat of multiple government shutdowns, Rep. Casten said there are still opportunities and resources available, and he will continue to push for federal partnerships. In his remarks, Rep. Casten talked about the importance of flood mitigation work throughout his district.

“I was glad to join representatives from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and municipal leaders in the Township of Lyons to discuss flooding and stormwater issues in Illinois and how to best address them on the local, state, and federal level,” said Rep. Casten.

“The working meeting with Congressman Sean Casten, MWRD, and area municipal leaders was very impactful. We appreciate the commitment by the Water Reclamation District to stormwater mitigation within Lyons Township and the County as a whole,” said Township Supervisor Christopher Getty.

The meeting was also an opportunity to promote the MWRD’s request for volunteer leaders from the area to apply to serve on the newly formed Stickney Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) Community Partnership Council (CPC). The primary objective of the Stickney CPC is to establish a robust connection between the Stickney WRP and the surrounding community, ensuring that the MWRD remains a responsive neighbor and an inclusive partner in progress.


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