Action Alert: Watershed Management Ordinance

July 24, 2013

Tell Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioners to Pass the Watershed Management Ordinance to Protect People and Wildlife from Stormwater

We need strong stormwater protections for people who live and work in Cook County. With so much concrete, rain rolls over streets, parking lots, and yards, picking up oil, metals, and other pollution. It then rushes into our streams and rivers. The fast, polluted stormwater degrades our rivers, eroding their banks and covering mussels and other water wildlife with sediment. The water rises so fast that streams flood over their banks and into our communities. At the same time, we are losing wetlands throughout the county, which filter pollution, store flood waters, and serve as vital homes for wildlife. The compounded effect costs the environment and hard hit neighborhoods, which must pay to repair stormwater damage.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District drafted a stormwater management ordinance to address these problems, and is asking for the public to comment on its protections. The ordinance will:

  • Protect isolated wetlands that are being destroyed at an alarming rate since losing federal protections in 2001.
  • Minimize building homes and businesses on land that habitually floods.
  • Require buffers on waterways that remove pollutants in runoff, improving water quality and wildlife habitat.
  • Require green infrastructure practices designed to help rainfall soak into the ground and detention release rates that hold the remaining stormwater to curb damage to our built and natural environment.

While the ordinance is not perfect, it is far better than the current protections. We strongly recommend that the public attend upcoming hearings and write to MWRD Commissioners and tell them to pass the ordinance without further delay.

Send comments by August 9 via email to or by mail to:

Catherine A. O’Connor, Director of Engineering
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
100 East Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Hearings are scheduled at 7 pm for the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, July 24: West Central Municipal Conference
    Northlake City Hall, 55 E. North Avenue, Northlake, IL
  • Monday, August 5: Southwest Conference of Mayors
    Chicago Ridge Village Hall, 10455 S. Ridgeland Avenue, Chicago Ridge, IL
  • Wednesday, August 7: Northwest Municipal Conference
    Mount Prospect Village Hall, 50 S. Emerson Street, Mt. Prospect, IL
  • Thursday, August 8: South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association
    SSMMA Main Office, 1904 W. 174th Street, East Hazel Crest, IL

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