» Events http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:32:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 May brings four opportunities to learn about proposed changes to Lake Michigan permitting, water loss and resource management http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/04/11/may-brings-four-opportunities-to-learn-about-proposed-changes-to-lake-michigan-permitting-water-loss-and-resource-management/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/04/11/may-brings-four-opportunities-to-learn-about-proposed-changes-to-lake-michigan-permitting-water-loss-and-resource-management/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 22:07:45 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=3337 Continue reading ]]> Northeastern Illinois is losing Lake Michigan water, but how much? The “best” available information we have suggests we lose approximately 26 billion gallons of Lake Michigan each year (that’s over one Willis Tower full of water each week) due to leaking infrastructure and poor policies – much of it after being treated to safe drinking water standards at a substantial cost to rate payers. Unfortunately, however, there are significant deficiencies in how we collect that information. Currently, Lake Michigan water users annually report water loss through an outdated accounting system that ignores important information such as infrastructure repairs. These reports do not accurately capture the amount of real water loss, nor do they identify the causes of loss and solutions to prevent it.

That’s why the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is proposing changes to the Lake Michigan Water Allocation program. The changes, many of which MPC calls for in our forthcoming white paper, Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use, will improve the information collected about actual water loss and inform policies that require water users to invest in both modern infrastructure and modern water practices. The result? Preserving our precious water supply.

There are several opportunities this May for you to learn more about these proposed changes, ask questions and to share your feedback.

On May 7, MPC will host a roundtable to release our paper Immeasurable Loss: Modernizing Lake Michigan Water Use, which supports IDNR’s proposals and makes further recommendations for more efficient water use. The event will provide up-to-date information on IDNR’s proposals and an opportunity for frank discussion. IDNR’s Chief of the Lake Michigan Management Section, Dan Injerd, will present along with representatives of two Lake Michigan permittees (Village of Westmont Public Works Supervisor Mike Ramsay and Illinois American Water’s Sr. Manager of Field Services Michael Smyth). MPC’s Josh Ellis, program director, will present and moderate the panel.

Next up, IDNR welcomes comments on the proposed rule changes at three public meetings held throughout the region or by email. Public comments are an important part of the rulemaking process, and IDNR encourages you to attend one of the following:

May 14th, 9:30am – Noon

DuPage Water Commission Headquarters

600 East Butterfield Road

Elmhurst, IL  60126

May 15th, 9:30am – Noon

South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association

1904 West 174th St.

East Hazel Crest, IL  60429

May 22nd, 9:30am – Noon

Lake County Central Permit Facility

500 W. Winchester Road

Libertyville, IL  60048

At these meetings, Illinois EPA and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning will also discuss low interest loan programs for water infrastructure repairs and constraints regarding water loss control. Attendees are asked to RSVP to Gina.Thompson@illinois.gov with your choice of location by May 8th and to bring a photo ID to attend the meetings.

We all have a stake in promoting efficient use of Lake Michigan and in strengthening our region’s resiliency. We invite you to learn more – and lend your voice – at these MPC events and IDNR’s public meetings.

For more information about MPC roundtables and to register online, please see http://metroplanning.org/news-events/calendar/.

For more information about IDNR’s proposed rule changes, please see http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/WaterResources/Pages/LakeMichiganWaterAllocation.aspx.

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Call for Presentations for County Green Conference http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/02/04/call-for-presentations-for-county-green-conference/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/02/04/call-for-presentations-for-county-green-conference/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:29:18 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2995 Continue reading ]]> Call for Presentations
County Green: Renewable Energy, Transportation and Water
May 23, 2013
College of Lake County – Grayslake, IL

Lake Country is one of the fastest-growing counties in Illinois and the nation. As Lake County continues to grow, so will the county’s demand for energy, transportation, and water. Accommodating growth in a sustainable manner depends on Lake County communities making choices that reduce our collective footprint.

County Green is the fourth annual Conference focusing on Sustainability in Northeastern Illinois. This year we are including Renewable Energy, Transportation and Water. Expected attendance is over 200 individuals in industry, government, education, technology, finance, engineering, and resource management. This conference explores the major challenges facing us, and potential solutions available to meet these challenges. We hope that you will consider sharing your experiences.

Presentations on these topics are welcomed:

Renewable Energy:
 Offshore wind power in the Great Lakes
 Geothermal
 Solar energy
 Smart Grids and Microgrids
 Fracking
 Pollution Control
 Stormwater
 Water Availability In Lake County
 The Water-Energy nexus
 Alternative transportation
 Clean vehicles
 Complete streets
 Sustainable practices
 Sustainable Transportation Supply Chain
 Innovative financing solutions
 Integrated planning
 New and Emerging Technologies
 Other session suggestions welcome

Download the submission document here: Call for Presentation Abstracts. Submissions are due February 15. Contact Cassandra McKinney with questions cmckinney@clcillinois.edu or 847-543-2645.

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2013 Environmental Grant Program open for applications http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/25/2013-environmental-grant-program-open-for-applications/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/25/2013-environmental-grant-program-open-for-applications/#comments Fri, 25 Jan 2013 22:37:40 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2964 Continue reading ]]> Illinois American Water is now accepting applications for the 2013 Environmental Grant Program. They are seeking innovative and collaborative programs that result in positive and sustainable environmental changes. Watershed protection activities, biodiversity projects and hazardous waste collection efforts are just a few examples of potential winners through their Environmental Grant Program.  Last year, they awarded over $25,000 in grant funding across Illinois for innovative, community-based environmental projects. The grant recipients targeted the funds to improve, restore and/or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the communities we serve.

Deadline for entries is March 11, 2013 – Entries must be emailed to Karen Cotton at karen.cotton@amwater.com or postmarked by March 11, 2013 and mailed to Karen Cotton at 7500 North Harker Drive, Peoria, Illinois 61615.  Late entries will not be accepted.  Email is preferred, but not required.

To qualify for Environmental Grant funding, a proposed project must be located within an Illinois American Water service area and:

  • address a source water or watershed protection need in the community
  • be completed between May 1, 2013 and November 29, 2013
  • be a new or innovative program for the community, or serve as a significant expansion to an existing program
  • be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations
  • provide evidence of sustainability (continue existence after the American Water grant monies are utilized)

Information is available online at www.illinoisamwater.com

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Lake County SMC Announces the Center for Watershed Protection’s Webcast Series http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/17/lake-county-smc-announces-the-center-for-watershed-protections-webcast-series/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/17/lake-county-smc-announces-the-center-for-watershed-protections-webcast-series/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 02:51:38 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2928 Continue reading ]]> The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission recently announced the lineup for the Center for Watershed Protection’s webcast series for 2013. The series focuses on stormwater management and best management practices and is geared for public works, engineers and others. All webcasts will be broadcast live from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at varying locations.  The first webcast is:

 Lose 10 Pounds of Pollution Without (Structural) BMPs – the Joys of Good Housekeeping, on February 13th


Join them in person and bring your lunch or watch online as you earn CECs or PDHs, contribute to your community’s NPDES compliance, and learn a thing or two.  See the schedule below and the specific event descriptions on the WOWW event calendar for further information.

  • Free
  • Brown bag – bring your own lunch
  • RSVP/Questions contact Andrea Cline acline@lakecountyil.gov
  • 1 CEC/2 PDHs per webcast

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 – Lose 10 Pounds of Pollution Without (Structural) BMPs –the Joys of Good Housekeeping – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 – Smart Stormwater Retrofitting in the Urban Environment – Gurnee Police Facility, 100 N. O’Plaine Road, Gurnee

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – Watershed Arithmetic –Crediting and Counting Your Watershed Practices Towards TMDL Goals – Lake Forest Municipal Services Building, 800 N. Field Drive, Lake Forest

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – Please Come Audit My MS4 – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – Mastering the Language of Talking to Elected Officials – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – Combining Green and Grey in Combined Sewer Watersheds – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 – StormwaterTrading –Markets or Mayhem? – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – Stormwater Utilities: Reckoning the Cost Side of the Equation – Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville

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Green Thumb Thursdays – Design Your Garden http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/15/green-thumb-thursdays-design-your-garden/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2013/01/15/green-thumb-thursdays-design-your-garden/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 20:50:35 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2895 Continue reading ]]> As part of the Blue Island, Blue Water rain barrel and rain garden initiative, a new series on gardening kicks off this Thursday, January 17, 2013 in the City of Blue Island’s northeast neighborhood. All are welcome to attend.

Last fall, the City, MPC and many partners kicked off the Blue Island, Blue Water initiative to help manage stormwater in a flood-prone neighborhood on the city’s northeast side, the City of Blue Island has undertaken a multi-phase project to implement neighborhood-scale stormwater management in both public and private sites throughout the neighborhood, which is bordered by 119th Street to the north, Western Ave. to the west, 123rd Place to the south, and the Metra tracks to the east. This effort will be the first steps to help alleviate local flooding and basement back issues in this neighborhood. During Phase I in the fall of 2012, the city and partners helped installed 125 rain barrels and several native plant gardens at key public sites.

On January 17, 2013, Design Your Garden will give you lots of practical tips on how to plan your garden. University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener, Nancy Kreith, who has a degree in Landscape Architecture, and lots of experience with garden design will share her expertise on planning your garden.

Green Thumb Thursdays – 2013 How-To Programs

Presentations will be held on the third Thursday of each month, from 7:00 – 7:45pm in the Evangelical Community Church Fellowship Hall, 2237 W. 120th Street, Blue Island, IL 60406 Easily accessible from I-57 and Metra. Parking is available across the street.

Green Thumb Thursdays is a FREE, monthly presentation about creating beautiful gardens to absorb rain water. Many gardens working together act like a sponge to soak up water and reduce area flooding.

Register online at the Master Gardeners website. Whether you can make it or not, download a flyer to pass along to friends and neighbors.

Co-sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Program, City of Blue Island, and Evangelical Community Church of Blue Island.

Also watch for:

  • Native Perennial Plants – February 21
  • Bring Butterflies to the Garden – March 21
  • Manage Weeds Organically – April 18
  • Shade Gardens – May 16
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Blue Island schools recognized for green infrastructure efforts http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/11/05/blue-island-schools-recognized-for-green-infrastructure-efforts/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/11/05/blue-island-schools-recognized-for-green-infrastructure-efforts/#comments Mon, 05 Nov 2012 08:50:30 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2651 Continue reading ]]> On Wednesday, Nov. 7, the U.S. Green Building Council will recognize the hard work of schools across Illinois that worked to make their campuses more sustainable during the 2012 Green Apple Day of Service.  The event will take place from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Paul Revere Primary School in Blue Island, Ill.

The major projects undertaken at Paul Revere Primary and Intermediate Schools last month, including installing native plant gardens and rain barrels, were sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council and coordinated with help from the City of Blue Island, the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Lakota Group, the Ill. Dept. of Natural Resources, and others. More than 100 students, parents, teachers and community members volunteered their time and energy to make the project a success.

The gardens and infrastructure improvements at Blue Island schools are one part of an on-going effort to address flooding problems on the City’s northeast side through better stormwater management techniques and community involvement.

To register for the event, please click here.

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Chicago Wilderness Congress, November 15 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/10/29/chicago-wilderness-congress-november-15/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/10/29/chicago-wilderness-congress-november-15/#comments Mon, 29 Oct 2012 10:02:48 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=1874 Continue reading ]]> November 15, 2012
University of Illinois at Chicago The Forum 725 W Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

MPC’s Abby Crisostomo and Josh Ellis will speak

The Chicago Wilderness biennial Congress provides the representatives of the alliance’s 260 member organizations a forum to join students, educators, volunteers, community partners, and interested members of the public in a dynamic exchange of ideas, success stories, and lessons learned.

The Congress will consider the future of regional conservation in the context of:

  • Applying lessons-learned and innovative best practices to the restoration and management of the region’s natural systems;
  • Inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders by engaging youth;
  • Adapting land and water conservation strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change; and
  • Protecting green infrastructure through strategic partnerships and engagement of municipalities across the region.

The 2012 Congress will provide an opportunity for participants to address how our growing and diversifying alliance can continue shaping the future of this region as a national and international leader in collaborative conservation.

Josh Ellis will present on Greening the Illinois Plumbing Code: The Path to Rainwater and Greywater Reuse. Josh will also speak on The Future(s) of the Chicago River as part of a panel titled Reimagining the Chicago and Calumet Rivers for the Twenty-First Century and Beyond.

Abby Crisostomo will present on Regionally-Coordinated Water Resource Planning using Water Conservation Ordinances in Chicago’s Far Northwest Suburbs.

For more information: http://www.chicagowilderness.org/what-you-can-do/attend-congress-2012/


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MPC leads push for regional water planning coordination http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/10/22/mpc-leads-push-for-regional-water-planning-coordination/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/10/22/mpc-leads-push-for-regional-water-planning-coordination/#comments Mon, 22 Oct 2012 10:57:03 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2111 Continue reading ]]> MPC staff Abby Crisostomo and Josh Ellis will speak at two upcoming Chicago-area events on water planning.

At the November 15 Chicago Wilderness Congress, participants will consider innovative best practices for conservation.

Josh Ellis will present on Greening the Illinois Plumbing Code: The Path to Rainwater and Greywater Reuse. Josh will also speak on The Future(s) of the Chicago River as part of a panel titled Reimagining the Chicago and Calumet Rivers for the Twenty-First Century and Beyond.

Abby Crisostomo will present on Regionally-Coordinated Water Resource Planning using Water Conservation Ordinances in Chicago’s Far Northwest Suburbs.

For more information: http://www.chicagowilderness.org/what-you-can-do/attend-congress-2012/

On December 3, Abby and Josh will also present as part of a webinar hosted by the Illinois Section American Water Works Association on Regionally Coordinated Water Planning.  The session will describe the process and challenges of regional coordination, setting the stage for the Northwest Water Planning Alliance’s next water conservation efforts and providing a model for other regional water supply planning groups to follow.

More information and online registration available here

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Rain Check: Regional Solutions to Stormwater Management http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/09/24/rain-check-regional-solutions-to-stormwater-management/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/09/24/rain-check-regional-solutions-to-stormwater-management/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 15:40:24 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=2449 Continue reading ]]> MPC Research Assistant Matt Nichols authored this post

Imagine a Chicago where a long-polluted river serves as a genuine second waterfront for residents to enjoy.  Think of what could be possible if every property owner captured and re-used the thousands of gallons of rain water that falls on their property, rather than letting it run down the drain. Envision a metropolitan region completely free from sewer overflows that have been all-too-common – and costly – for municipalities and homeowners alike. These are just some of the ambitious – but concrete and achievable – goals that water utility leaders from Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland declared for their cities at a Sept. 13 roundtable hosted by Openlands and the Metropolitan Planning Council.  Although the panelists painted a broad picture of the current state of public water reclamation utilities in the Midwest, they also offered a glimpse at the innovative practices their cities are embracing to strive toward sustainability and deal with aging infrastructure.

Those cutting-edge techniques include green infrastructure, like rain barrels and green roofs; waste-to-energy production that turns wastewater facility byproducts into valuable resources; and stormwater fees to encourage sustainable development and finance new investments in grey and green infrastructure to prevent flooding. Kevin Shafer of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Kellie Rotunno of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) recognized the continued importance of so-called grey infrastructure, like pipes, reservoirs, and deep tunnels, calling these assets the “backbone” and “superhighways” of their respective systems.  However, they both agreed with David St. Pierre of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) that green infrastructure is “the only solution” to close the gap between current capacity and peak demand – and to eliminate combined sewer overflows that flood streets and basements.

Large precipitation events that strain combined stormwater and wastewater systems are likely to become more frequent due to the effects of climate change.  As St. Pierre noted, Chicago has experienced three 100-year rain storms in the past five years.  (Statistically, there should be a 1 percent chance of a 100-year event in any given year.)

This reality has added urgency to Midwestern cities setting aggressive targets for stormwater management. In Milwaukee, the MMSD already has spent $68 million on private property retrofits to manage rain where it falls.  Both St. Pierre and Rotunno were quick to acknowledge that Milwaukee’s commitment to green infrastructure, dating back to 2002, has made it a national leader in the field.  In Cleveland — an industrial center once infamous for the poor water quality of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River — NEORSD has achieved an 87 percent capture rate for stormwater and intends to increase that to 98 percent by 2036.  While a $3 billion deep tunnel system will play a key role, so too will green infrastructure projects like reclaiming vacant lots and constructing “green streets,” which will account for more than 44 million gallons of stormwater management.

Of course, while green is typically less costly than grey infrastructure, re-envisioning the urban landscape through green infrastructure does have a price tag.  NEORSD is leading the way in innovative financing tools by charging property owners a stormwater fee based on impervious surface area (like concrete sidewalks and driveways and traditional roofs). For an average homeowner, the fee is about $5 per month – not a financial hardship, said Rotunno, but she also admitted that the fee is not enough to motivate property owners to undertake retrofits that would reduce impervious surface.  Like any rate increase, these measures require political will and a pro-active outreach campaign to inform residents about the full cost of the services they receive.

As leaders of regional utilities with service areas that span dozens of communities and hundreds of square miles, all three panelists were cognizant of the scale of the challenges they face.  However, scale also can create opportunities when utilities view sewage as a resource, instead of just waste.  Indeed, the MMSD has committed to run 100 percent on renewable energy sources by 2035 – a sizeable share of which will come from the heat energy in sewage itself.  Likewise, MWRD recently unveiled a new sewerthermal system at the James C. Kirie Water Reclamation Plant; and an improved incineration system in Cleveland will allow for burning biomass to produce energy without the use of fossil fuels.

The packed audience at the roundtable – including engineers, environmentalists and public officials – showed a strong interest in green infrastructure through their questions to the panelists and their post-event survey responses.  Clearly, a diverse coalition of stakeholders supports these ongoing efforts across the Midwest to tackle the challenges of infrastructure, financing and sustainability.  And as David St. Pierre noted, effective change begins with “letting down the drawbridge” to facilitate regional collaboration.

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Illinois Water Conference, September 24-25 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/09/19/illinois-water-conference-september-24-25/ http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/2012/09/19/illinois-water-conference-september-24-25/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:02:01 +0000 http://blog.chicagolandh2o.org/?p=1870 Continue reading ]]> MPC’s Josh Ellis and Abby Crisostomo will speak

September 24–25, 2012, 10 am–4 pm
Illini Union, University of Illinois Champaign, IL

The Illinois Water Conference brings together government employees, educators, corporate representatives, citizens groups and NGO members, and scientists to learn about the latest issues affecting Illinois’ waters. Check back soon for more information.

MPC Associate Abby Crisostomo presents her paper, Regionally-Coordinated Water Resource Planning using Water Conservation Ordinances in Chicago’s Far Northwest Suburbs.

MPC Program Director Josh Ellis presents Lost Water: Policy lessons from Illinois’ Lake Michigan Water Usage Reporting and Integrated Water Resource Planning: A Community Pilot Project in Lake Zurich, IL.

The original research of these staff members has contributed substantively to MPC’s work on water use and planning issues in the Chicago region.

Registration: https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/default.cfm?RegistrationID=6768

Contact: Illinois Water Resources Center
Carla Blue

For more information visit http://web.sws.uiuc.edu/hilites/confinfo/water2012/

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