Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Kathleen Therese Meany would like to inform Cook County residents that the district can help when it comes to storm flooding.
“We monitor the weather and lower the Chicago Area Waterway System to provide maximum capacity for storm water in the area waterways, tunnels and reservoir system,” Meany stated in a press release.
The MWRD operates seven plants throughout the region. The plants take in a combined flow of more than 3 billion gallons a day. During rain events, the MWRD maximizes flow to the plants to ensure the district is moving the maximum amount of water through the system.
When the Chicago area waterway levels are higher than Lake Michigan and predetermined elevations are reached, the MWRD opens control structures to move as much water as possible out of the system. This provides protection from overbank flooding as well as more capacity for storm water.
Tunnels that comprise the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) system, or so-called Deep Tunnel, are at the following levels: the Mainstream Tunnel has reached 92 percent capacity, the Des Plaines Tunnel has reached 60 percent capacity and the Calumet Tunnel is at 4 percent. The tunnel system is 109 miles and holds 2.7 billion gallons of water.
“We encourage the public to minimize their use of water in their homes to reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer system during extraordinary rain events such as what is occurring,” Meany said. “This will provide maximum capacity for combined storm water flows.”