With temperatures warming up after record-breaking cold the past few days, snowmelt and rain can lead to flooding in the Chicagoland region.
Frozen ground is unable to absorb water and snow, and run-off immediately flows to the sewers. In addition, ice can block storm drains and streams. As a result, flooding may occur when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed from the combination of normal sewage flow, rain water and snow melt.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is preparing for the flow by lowering water levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System to make room for runoff. In addition, our Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) tunnels, Majewski Reservoir, Thornton Composite Reservoir, and McCook Reservoir Stage I are ready to hold over 11 billion gallons of water.
Municipalities as well as the public can help plan for and minimize flooding by reducing water use. Postponing high water consumption activities such as bathing or showering, running dishwashers or washing clothes will also help provide maximum capacity in the local and intercepting sewer systems.
Other activities that can help minimize flooding include:
If you see flooding, report it to your municipality; in Chicago, call 311.
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