Events McCook Reservoir, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Photo courtesy of the MWRD
Water Reclamation District opens the McCook reservoir to public viewing

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Water Reclamation District opens the McCook reservoir to public viewing

Latest MWRD engineering marvel set to open to the public. Call to register for McCook Reservoir tours 

WHO: The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) will host public tours of the first phase of the McCook Reservoir set for completion in late 2017.
WHAT: The MWRD will provide free tours of the Mainstream Pumping Station and then bus visitors to the McCook Reservoir, the last and largest of three reservoirs being constructed as part of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP). The tours will give visitors a complete overview of the TARP system and how it functions to improve local water quality and mitigate flooding throughout Cook County.
WHERE: Tours kick off at the Mainstream Pumping Station, 6100 River Rd., in Hodgkins, IL. Visitors can view interactive displays and watch videos of TARP construction. Buses will transport visitors for a guided tour of the McCook Reservoir, which is located west of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) between the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
McCook Reservoir, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Photo courtesy of the MWRD

McCook Reservoir, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Photo courtesy of the MWRD

WHEN: Sundays: Aug. 6 and 27, Sept. 17 and 24, Oct. 1 and 15 between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Each tour takes approx. two hours. Please wear sturdy footwear; no sandals, high heels, shorts or dresses allowed.
TO RESERVE SPACE ON THE TOUR: Call 312-751-6632 or email
Get your cameras out! The last chapter in the MWRD’s historic Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) is about to begin. The MWRD will unveil to the public the first phase of the McCook Reservoir, the last of three reservoirs to be constructed to protect area waterways from pollution and mitigate flooding. When completed, the reservoir will have a total capacity of 10 billion gallons, beginning with the first phase to be finished this year that will provide 3.5 billion gallons of storage. Phase 2 will be completed in 2029 and provide 6.5 billion gallons of storage. The McCook Reservoir will provide an average of $143 million per year in flood damage reduction benefits to 3,100,000 people in Chicago and 36 other communities.
Due to the popularity of tours at the Thornton Composite Reservoir in South Holland in 2015, the MWRD will offer the public a chance to glimpse into the giant limestone reservoir with a guided tour from MWRD’s expert engineers. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the Mainstream Pumping Station.
TARP is the country’s largest public works project for pollution and flood control, covering a 375-mile area that includes Chicago and 51 suburbs relying on a combined collection system. The 109-mile network of tunnel systems, which capture 2.3 billion gallons of water 150 to 300 feet below ground, was completed in 2006. The Majewski Reservoir was completed in 1998 and the Thornton Reservoir in 2015. When complete, the McCook Reservoir will replace Thornton as the largest reservoir of its kind in the world.

For more information, read the Tunnel and Reservoir Fact Sheet at


About the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Phase one of the McCook Reservoir, part of the MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, is set to be complete by the end of 2017, and visitors will be able to get a closer look for a limited time. Call 312-751-6632 to register for a tour.Established in 1889, the MWRD ( is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter (1976-1992).

He is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Awards, the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for journalism, and was named Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media in 2007.

His personal web page is The Daily Hookah at (and

Hanania writes a weekly syndicated column for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia and is the managing editor of the American Arab online news website,

His mainstream columns are published in Chicago's Southwest Side and Suburbs in The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, the Southwest News-Herald and the Des Plaines Valley News.

Hanania is the managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website

Email Ray Hanania at

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