What is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago?

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is Cook County's sanitary district! We clean the water that goes down your toilets, sinks, and sewers. We also clean stormwater and flood water. 

A deeper look...

The MWRDGC is an independent government and taxing body encompassing approximately 91 percent of the land area and 98 percent of the assessed valuation of Cook County, Illinois. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners who are elected at large and serve on a salaried basis. Three Commissioners are elected every two years for six-year terms, and biannually, the Board elects from its membership a President, Vice President, and Chairman of Finance. The District owns and operates seven water reclamation plants and 22 pumping stations and treats an average of 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater each day. The District’s total wastewater treatment capacity is over 2 billion gallons per day. Find some of the most important MWRD links below. 

Public meetings are held twice per month (except July & August) in the board room at 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, IL. An electronic copy of the agenda is available on the MWRD website. Board meetings are held Thursdays, at 10:30 am. If you are not available, but would still like to view the meetings online, check out our live video streams.

Live Public Bimonthly Board Meetings

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The MWRD’s Exceptional Quality (EQ) Compost is a sustainable and environmentally beneficial product derived from the water reclamation process. 

Benefits include: 

  • Increased infiltration and water holding capacity

  • Longer retention of nutrients for better uptake by plants

  • Improved topsoil structure and porosity for a better plant root environment

Get EQ Compost for FREE


MWRD staff and Commissioners participate in community events, job fairs, and parades throughout Cook County to educate the public about our work of protecting the water environment, recovering resources, and transforming water. Our knowledgeable and friendly team distribute brochures, booklets, and coloring books, and offer fun STEM-related activities and free oak saplings as part of our “Restore the Canopy” initiative.

Check the page often as new events are added frequently.

Community Events

This MWRD program will aid in managing stormwater and educating communities & schools on the value of the tree canopy that has been depleted over the last century. The “Restore the Canopy, Plant a Tree” initiative empowers the residents of Cook County with an opportunity to restore our region’s tree canopy and reduce the chances of future flooding.


The MWRD distributes free trees every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon. Click below to see pick up locations!

Restore the Canopy, Plant a Tree!


As part of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) ongoing effort of protecting our water environment, the MWRD has released a mobile Incident Reporting app for Apple iOS devices. The app allows users to submit instances of odors and other environmental-related issues.

Download the MWRD app

We offer facility tours for groups of up to 30 persons, within the age range of 7th grade to adult. Tours are Tuesday through Friday and are scheduled upon request. Tours may begin as early as 9:00 a.m. and must start no later than 1:00 p.m.

Visit Our Facilities

All Cook County residents can purchase a rain barrel for $45.78 (including tax). Rain barrels are a type of green infrastructure that captures rainwater from your roof and saves it for when you need it. By keeping this water out of the sewer system, rain barrels can also help prevent sewer overflows and flooding. You can use rain barrel water to wash your car, water your lawn, or clean work boots and tools. Rain barrel water is naturally free of chlorine, lime, and calcium and some gardeners swear their plants prefer it. Order a rain barrel and learn how to install it by clicking the link above! 

Order a Rain Barrel

The release of unused pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter and prescription drugs into the sanitary sewerage system has harmful impacts on our waterways. Whenever possible, it's important to properly dispose of those products. Pharmaceuticals can navigate through the water treatment plants and enter Chicago Area Waterways, thus impacting fish and plant-life and our groundwater and waterways. Click this link for a list of locations that accept unwanted or unused pharmaceuticals.

Safe Pharmaceutical Drop Off


Click below to report odor, water pollution, waterway blockages, or other incidents. If you have already submitted an incident, you can also view its details.

MWRD Citizen Incident Reporting

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public access to a government agency’s records.

Requests must be specific. For example, please list RFQ numbers, contract numbers or any other specific details for requested documents in the body of the email.


The response time for regular FOIA requests is 5 business days. Longer response times are provided by the Act for Commercial requests and Recurrent requests.

Sewer permits requests no longer require a FOIA request.

For more information and where to submit information, click on the image above or below this text.

FOIA Public Information


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 A bi-weekly newsletter is sent out with MWRD news, Commissioner Frank Avila suggested readings, and opportunities to join the green community within the Chicagoland area. Get to know the Chairman of Finance for Cook County's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District!

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