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MWRD Rain Barrel Program

Commissioner Kari K. Steele and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District partnered with community organizations and local municipalities to distribute over 17,000 free rain barrels to residents throughout Cook County.  Commissioner Steele also used the initiative to teach water conservation to a group of Bronzeville area youth.

Thornton Composite Reservoir

Thornton Reservoir was completed during Commissioner Kari K. Steele’s first term and with capacity to hold 7.9 billion gallons of water and combined sewage overflow the project has reaped instant benefits.  Flooding and overflow has been reduced for residents in 91 square mile area of southern Cook County.

Space to Grow

Since the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District launched the Space to Grow program, Commissioner Kari K. Steele has taken pride in working with parents, teachers, students and communities to transform Chicago schoolyards into beautiful and functional spaces for families to play, learn, garden and be outside. BY using Green infrastructure, the playgrounds also help reduce neighborhood flooding

MWRD Chatham Neighborhood of Chicago Research Pilot Study

Having grown up in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, Commissioner Kari K. Steele was proud to lead the charge for a Research and Pilot Study in the Chatham Neighborhood of Chicago. A partnership between MWRD, the City of Chicago and Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), the study will evaluate the effectiveness of low-cost improvements in reducing basement backups and flooding.

McCook Reservoir

Commissioner Kari K. Steele is proud to report that the last of the three reservoirs to be constructed, the McCook Reservoir, is on schedule for completion.  When completed, it will have the capacity to store 10 billion gallons of water, benefitting residents of a 254.7 square mile area in the Chicagoland north and west areas. Schedule a tour with Commissioner Steele on: September 24 th , October 1 st  & 15 th

Museum of Science and Industry

As a chemist and environmentalist Commissioner Steele was proud to partner with The Museum of Science and Industry on their Jr. Science Café and Science Works programs.  It was programs like those that led Commissioner Steele to her job at MWRD.  By providing youth with hands on activities, one-on- one discussions, and the ability to interact directly with working STEM professionals, Commissioner Steele believes more children will be motivated to protect our environment.


Municipalities and Townships Served


Population Served


Average gallons of wastewater treated daily by MWRD

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