Permeable pavement like this alley in Berwyn is an effective form of green infrastructure as it handles precipitation where it falls. The MWRD is seeking government partners to help construct more of these projects in Cook County.
To help area communities better manage stormwater, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is accepting applications until July 31 to help fund local projects that utilize green infrastructure (GI).
GI is designed to capture water and allow 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 are often overwhelmed by increasingly intense rain events experienced throughout the region. The MWRD seeks local governmental entities, including municipalities, townships and county agencies, to submit potential GI projects within the MWRD’s service boundaries.
“We are all interested in flood reduction but the District can’t do it alone. Green infrastructure offers a high impact solution to managing stormwater in many instances, so we are encouraging local governments to complete an application for funding consideration,” said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos.
Conventional gray infrastructure enlists concrete pipes to convey stormwater. On the other hand, GI mimics the natural environment by collecting precipitation where it falls by detaining and infiltrating runoff through rain gardens, permeable pavement, cisterns and other practices.
GI’s impact is not limited to flooding concerns. GI can reduce wet-weather flows to combined sewer systems, reducing combined sewer overflows to local waterways and protecting water quality in these vital waterways. GI also reduces runoff volumes and improves water quality in separate sewer service areas. In addition, GI provides social benefits that enhance the livability of communities.
“Local governments are vital in addressing flooding concerns through their communities, as they are the first to be impacted by flooding,” said MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita. “As the regional stormwater authority for Cook County, our partnership with the local communities in identifying areas of concern is vital.”
The MWRD intends to provide partial funding towards the construction of selected GI installations on public property. Project partners will be expected to provide long-term operation and maintenance of the installed GI 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, the capability of the applicant to operate and maintain the GI practices, and the visibility of the project in terms of providing educational opportunities amongst other factors.
Public agencies within the MWRD’s corporate limit are encouraged to submit an application online by visiting www.mwrd.org. Eligibility requirements and instructions are included in the application form. The deadline for submission is July 31, 2018.