Public officials gathered Monday morning next to a highway in suburban Cook County to dedicate a massive hole in the ground that is expected to save the area from future flooding and pollution.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and officials from several federal and state agencies celebrated a recently finished a section of the McCook Reservoir that can hold up to 3.5 billion gallons of water. The event marks the completion of stage one of the Reservoir, which will provide a total storage capacity of 10 billion gallons when complete in 2029.
Stage one of the project is estimated to provide $114 million per year in flood reduction benefits to 3.1 million residents in Chicago and dozens of surrounding communities that use a combined water collection system, according to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
McCook Reservoir Stage I will take on 3.5 billion gallons (BG) of water that would otherwise pollute our waterways and flood our basements and streets. TARP now has more than 14 BG of storage capacity to protect our water environment. #cleanwater pic.twitter.com/WSPtgumcaY
— MWRD (@MWRDGC) December 4, 2017
“It’s not going to be the magic bullet that we all think it is, but it’s going to significantly reduce the incidences of flooding,” said Mariyana Spyropoulos, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board of Commissioners, in a previous interview with Chicago Tonight.
At 3,000 feet long and 310 feet deep, the McCook Reservoir is part of MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, or TARP. Also known as Deep Tunnel, TARP is one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. The 109-mile tunnel system, which can capture 2.3 billion gallons of water several hundred feet below ground, was completed in 2006.
Oct. 16: Chicago’s sewer and deep tunnel system couldn’t handle this weekend’s rain, allowing untreated sewage and stormwater into Lake Michigan.
Sept. 5: After heavy storms, the Chicago River’s North Branch floods hundreds of homes on the Northwest Side. The Chicago Department of Transportation is now constructing a permanent flood-fighting weapon. We take a look.
Aug. 28: A grand canyon that will become a deep lake: We get a tour of the final reservoir in the Deep Tunnel plan.