Vote for a Greener Water Reclamation Board!

Cook County's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is one of the largest waste treatment and flood prevention agencies in the world. Overseen by an elected Board of Commissioners, this taxpayer-funded agency is also one of Cook County's largest governmental bodies, with over 2,000 employees and an annual operating budget of well over a billion dollars.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, or MWRD, is responsible for:

  • Flood prevention and abatement in Cook County
  • Wastewater and sewage treatment for most of Cook County (a handful of suburban municipalities have their own sewer authority)
  • Water quality testing in the Chicago Area Waterway System, which covers 76 miles of navigable waterways all across Cook County

For more than 20 years, all Commissioners elected to the Board have been Democrats. The Green Party is running a full slate of five candidates in 2018 on a unified platform that prioritizes flood-preventing infrastructure, independent oversight of the agency's massive budget, and governmental reforms to end the entrenched culture of pay-to-play, cronyism, and nepotism.

Vote Green Party candidates for clean water, clean soil, and clean government!

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    Explosion & Collapse at Calumet Water Reclamation Plant - Statement

    Thursday, August 30
    Greens for MWRD
    Contact: 773-809-4547 or

    Statement: Explosion & Collapse at Calumet Water Reclamation Plant

    Green Party candidates for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners have been made aware of the explosion and structural collapse at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant's sludge concentration building.

    We are extremely relieved to hear reports that all people on-site have been rescued from the area, and we are deeply grateful to Chicago's emergency services and first responders for their handling of the crisis. Our sympathies are with those injured during the explosion and its aftermath.

    Currently, preliminary investigations suggest a methane explosion. Reports from local residents of a strong methane smell in the days prior to the explosion raise concerns about the department's responsiveness to potential hazards.

    The Calumet plant is one of only two MWRD treatment plants (out of seven total) that applies a third-stage disinfecting treatment to its outflow. With recent heavy rains and more expected over the weekend, its continuing function is a critical part of Cook County's wastewater management. 

    As we wait for further information, we hope that, unlike in the recent case of Executive Director David St. Pierre's departure following an undisclosed investigation, MWRD leadership will be prompt and transparent in providing the full details of the incident and the Calumet plant's capacities to the public. 

    For more information, contact Greens for MWRD at, or call 773-809-4547. The Green Party candidates on the November 6th ballot will be: Chris Anthony, Karen Roothaan, and Tammie Vinson for full, six-year terms, and Rachel Wales and Geoffrey Cubbage to fill two partial, two-year vacancies.

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