Durbin Meets With MWRD To Express Continued Support For McCook Reservoir, Brandon Road Project

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with members of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to express his continued support for the construction and funding of the McCook Reservoir Project.  Last month, Durbin, along with Senator Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03), Peter Roskam (R-IL-06), Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), and Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) requested $34.7 million in construction funds for the McCook Reservoir Project be included in the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Work Plan.  They also requested that the Corps use their authority under Section 1043 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2014 to transfer responsibility for the completion of the remainder of the project to MWRD.

“The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s work is critically important for the water quality in our rivers and waterways and the thousands of residents and businesses who are in areas prone to flooding,” said Durbin.  “The new, innovative, and cost-effective approach for the completion of the McCook Reservoir Project will deliver critical benefits for Illinois and the five million citizens of the region who will be protected by this project.  I will continue to support and push for the completion of this vital project.”

Durbin also discussed the importance of expediting the Brandon Road Project with the MWRD members, a project that they support.  Durbin was instrumental in forcing the release of the Brandon Road Study – a draft plan that outlines a number of technologies to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes while having minimal impact on waterway users.  The study was set to be released on February 28, 2017, but had been stalled by the Trump Administration.  It was eventually released in August 2017 only after Durbin included language in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2018 Energy & Water appropriations bill forcing the Corps to release the study within 30 days of the bill’s passage.  The Corps is currently reviewing public comments on the report and then will move towards its final Chief’s Report by February 2019.  If the study is finalized, the Corps would be able to move forward with the project in 2022 and make it operational by 2025.  

The McCook Reservoir Project, which was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 1988, is a flood damage reduction project that is currently 91 percent complete.  This project will provide $114 million in annual flood damage reduction benefits to five million residents of Chicago and 36 surrounding suburban communities.

When finished in 2029, the reservoir will hold ten billion gallons of water and protect 1.2 million homes and businesses in the region from flooding.   It will also greatly improve the quality of area waterways by reducing untreated sewage backflow into Lake Michigan, which serves as Chicago’s drinking water supply, and storing combined sewer overflow during flooding events before the water can be directed through the Stickney Wastewater Treatment Plant.