Mariyana Spyropoulos: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Candidate, 6-Year Term

WTTW’s 2016 Voters’ Guide to the Primary is an online resource designed to inform voters about the candidates running for Cook County office in the March 15 election.

Every candidate running for a Cook County office was given two minutes to tell voters where they stand on the issues, why they feel they are best qualified and what they intend to do if elected or re-elected. The messages were recorded at the WTTW studios at no cost to the candidates. The Voters’ Guide is an online version of Candidate Free Time, pioneered by WTTW in the 1992 race for U.S. Senate. This year, we are proud to partner with the League of Women Voters of Cook County to give voters this guide to candidates for Cook County office.

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About this office: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is governed by a nine-member board elected at-large with three commissioners elected every two years. During the March 15 primary, some candidates will run for six-year terms, while others will run for terms that last two years.

MWRD treats water collected by sanitary and stormwater sewers in most of Cook County. It also serves as the Stormwater Management Utility for Cook County. Its mission is to protect the health and safety of citizens and area waterways.

About this candidate:

Name: Mariyana Spyropoulos
Party: Democratic
Residence: Chicago
Occupation: Attorney
Political experience: Commissioner since 2009; Chairman of Finance at MWRD in 2013; President of the Board of Commissioners in 2015

What is your vision for this office?
To further reduce flooding in the Cook County area through investment in our aging infrastructure, increased use of green infrastructure and increased MWRD assistance with localized projects. Further, increasing revenue and reducing our tax burden by creating revenue streams by resource recovery at MWRD. Maintaining our good financial future through fiscal responsibility and oversight. Continuing our mission to protect our water environment and being sustainable in our practices.

What is the most pressing issue facing Cook County, and how can you help address it?
Flooding is our most pressing issue. With climate change has come increasing intense rain events. I have pushed for the use of green infrastructure since my arrival at MWRD. Since then we have passed our Stormwater Management Ordinance requiring the use of green infrastructure in new developments. We also have a very popular rain barrel program. 

Battling flooding requires a multi-pronged approach:

1.) The combination of grey infrastructure (TARP), with Phase I of McCook Reservoirs coming online in 2017
2.) investing in our aging infrastructure to increase capacity
3.) MWRD assistance with localized stormwater projects
4.) our program of buying flood prone homes
5.) increasing our green infrastructure programs along with public outreach will significantly reduce the number of flooding events in the area. I will continue to champion this collaborative and multi-faceted approach to solving the problem.   


Hi, I’m Mariyana Spyropoulos, your Commissioner at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. I’m running for re-election and asking for your vote.

Like so many, I’m the product of the immigrant experience. My parents came to the United States looking for opportunity. They sacrificed to provide me with a good education and taught me the value of hard work. I’m an attorney with an MBA and I bring my legal and finance background to my work at the MWRD. I have been your voice for fiscal responsibility, transparency as well as flood prevention and sustainability.

Some of the things I have championed since being elected Commissioner have been:

1.) Fiscal responsibility: I have protected your tax dollars and MWRD has a triple AAA bond rating, and the pension is on the right track to be fully funded. Not a lot of agencies can say that in Illinois.
2.) Promoted the use of green infrastructure: as a means of reducing flooding and conserve water. Our infrastructure is aging, with climate change we have more intense rain storms, and 40 percent of Cook County is made of non-permeable surface. We therefore need to use green infrastructure to help reduce storm runoff. I have championed our successful rain barrel program. I have also worked with municipalities to help them with projects that use green infrastructure.
3.) Protecting the environment. Nothing could be more important than protecting our natural resources for future generations. I have supported going energy neutral at our plants, capturing phosphorus from our treatment process to reduce the nutrient load and improve water quality.
4.) I have fought for transparency by making our proceedings accessible online. I believe that it is important that taxpayers see their tax dollars at work.

Check out my website,, where I have more information. In the meantime, I ask for your support and vote. I’m Mariyana Spyropoulos. Thank you. 

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