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MWRD works around the clock to provide flood protection

MWRD reversed the flow of Chicago area waterways to alleviate flooding and provide capacity for stormwater.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) works around the clock to provide flood protection for Cook County. We monitor the weather, and prior to major storms, we draw down the waterways to provide maximum capacity for stormwater. Our goal is to provide maximum capacity in the area waterways, tunnels and reservoir system to provide as much protection from flooding as possible.

On April 18, we reversed the Chicago area waterways to Lake Michigan to alleviate overbank flooding and provide additional capacity for stormwater. The gates were opened and closed as follows:

Wilmette Pumping Station gates were opened at 1:25 a.m. on April 18 and closed at 6:45 a.m. on April 19

Chicago River Controlling Works gates were opened at 3:47 a.m. on April 18 and closed at 2:06 a.m. on April 19

O’Brien Controlling Works gates were opened at 6:15 a.m. on April 18 and closed at 5:15 AM on April 19

We encourage the public to minimize the use of water in their homes before and during rain events to reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer system. This will provide maximum capacity for combined stormwater flows.

For further updates, visit our website at www.mwrd.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/metropolitanwaterreclamationdistrict.

Our water environment...Take it personally!

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Allison Fore April 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Our staff is currently investigating and I will post the findings as soon as they are available (hopefuly by cob tomorrow or early next week). By the way, I was mopping up and discarding water-logged carpeting, papers and boxes from my basement on my birthday last week...
Allison Fore April 30, 2013 at 07:18 PM
I have learned that the Melvina Reservoir in Burbank has a total storage capacity of 48,000,000 gallons, with an additional 11,350,000 gallons of sewer storage capacity for a total of 59,350,000 gallons. The Melvina Reservoir also takes flow from the Bedford Park Reservoir (100,000,000 gallon capacity) via a storm sewer that connects the two reservoirs. During storms, the pumping station at Melvina Reservoir pumps stormwater from the storm sewer and/or the reservoir into Melvina Ditch (the conduit is closed from 87th Street to 95th Street, Oak Lawn). During the April 18 storm, the MWRD’s pumping station at Melvina Reservoir lost one of its two ComEd lines; we believe a tree fell on the ComEd feed so MWRD staff switched the entire station over to the active ComEd feed. We typically have five operating pumps; however, we had to run the pumping station on 4 pumps throughout the remainder of the storm. Hope this information is helpful.
Burbank Beat May 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Thank you for researching the situation and the thorough answer to our question Allison.
Tom K. May 08, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Allison, thank you for your input. Where is the best place to find additional information on MWRD plans for flood control for the area? I heard rumors of expanded water storage in the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge and the adjacent (former) K-Mart site, which are fed from Stony Creek, which in turn is fed from the Melvina Ditch system. Ultimately, I understand that Stony Creek flows into the Cal Sag waterway, which will be able to take on much more water when the Thornton composite quarry comes on line in 2015. However, there is a lot of real estate betwen Burbank and the Cal Sag, and increased reservoir capacity at Wolfe would go a long way in providing flood relief for Burbank and Oak Lawn. I would love to stay on top of this - what is the best way?
Allison Fore May 09, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Hi Tom, The Village of Oak Lawn is redeveloping the northwest corner of 111th Street and Cicero. Please contact the Village at (708) 636-4400 for information related to their plans for the redevelopment at Wolf Wildlife Refuge. The MWRD developed a watershed plan for the Calumet-Sag watershed which can be found here: www.mwrd.org/irj/portal/anonymous/stormwateroverview. As far as being able to stay on top of this, we will be putting a list of projects with maps on our stormwater page, along with the MWRD project engineer’s contact info. so interested parties can call the engineer directly for up to the minute updates. Email me at allison.fore@mwrd.org if I can provide additional info, thanks.

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