Chicago wastewater utility marks water project completion

Chicago wastewater project completion prompts IFB, water district to explore opportunities to address water quality.

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IFB Director Earl Williams of Winnebago County joins other IFB directors viewing the McCook Reservoir during a 2016 tour of the construction. A Caterpillar tractor, lower right, provides perspective of the project’s scale. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

Chicago’s massive 3.5-billion-gallon reservoir, part of a public water project, is complete and will be celebrated Dec. 3 by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It marks completion of Stage I of the McCook Reservoir, part of the MWRD's Tunnel and Reservoir Plan.

Illinois Farm Bureau and MWRD are exploring collaborative opportunities for agriculture and the utility to address water quality issues.  

The first stage will provide reduced flooding benefits worth an estimated $114 million annually to Chicago and 36 other communities. After a second stage is finished, McCook can store 10 billion gallons for an estimated $143 million in annual reduced flooding benefits.

Dubbed "Deep Tunnel," the tunnel and reservoir plan comprises one of the nation’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control, and a 375-mile area. Completed in 2006, a 109-mile tunnel system can capture 2.3 billion gallons of water 150 to 300 feet belowground.

Related: A group of IFB directors and staff toured the McCook Reservoir last year. Read more about the facility. Click here.

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