On June 18, 2019 the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) announced that it was now offering local government partners green infrastructure project assistance.
Green infrastructure captures water and allows it to infiltrate into the ground before it enters the traditional conveyance system. This helps to reduce the amount of water flowing through pipes that can be overwhelmed by intense rain events.
The MWRD is the regional stormwater authority for Cook County and holds an annual call for green infrastructure projects from throughout its service area. Recent projects chosen for funding and assistance by the MWRD have included permeable parking lots, rain gardens, bioswales and green alleys.
Conventional gray infrastructure enlists concrete pipes to convey stormwater. On the other hand, green infrastructure mimics the natural environment by collecting precipitation where it falls by detaining and infiltrating runoff through rain gardens, permeable pavement, cisterns and other practices.
Green infrastructure’s impact is not limited to flooding concerns. It can reduce wet-weather flows to combined sewer systems, reduce combined sewer overflows to local waterways and protect water quality in these vital waterways. Green infrastructure also reduces runoff volumes and improves water quality in separate sewer service areas. In addition, green infrastructure provides social benefits that enhance the livability of communities.
The MWRD intends to provide partial funding towards the construction of selected green infrastructure installations on public property. Project partners will be expected to provide long-term operation and maintenance of the installed green infrastructure practices, among other responsibilities to be defined through intergovernmental agreements with the MWRD and the selected applicant partners.
The MWRD will prioritize the submitted projects based on the project’s stormwater benefits, such as reduction of basement flooding, the capability of the applicant to operate and maintain the green infrastructure practices, and the visibility of the project in terms of providing educational opportunities amongst other factors.
If you are in Cook County, Illinois, MWRD is accepting applications from municipal, township and county agencies within Cook County to fund projects that use green infrastructure until August 9, 2019.
Public agencies within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries are encouraged to submit an application online by visiting www.mwrd.org. Eligibility requirements and instructions are included in the application form which can be found at www.mwrd.org/irj/portal/anonymous/GI
Featured photo (courtesy of MWRD) shows a bioswale and 1070-square-yard permeable pavement parking lot in Niles. The project reduces localized flooding, reduces the flow of stormwater into the local combined sewer system. MWRD contributed funds towards it.