MWRD to hold public hearing on bond issue

  • By Jennifer Slosar
  • Environment Reporter
  • January 07, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is inviting public comment on its plans to issue up to $258 million in bonds to fund ongoing capital projects.

The district’s commissioners will hold a hearing on the bonds at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at district headquarters at 100 E. Erie St. A regular board meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m., will follow the hearing.

The $258 million will fund construction on a handful of projects that will provide pollution abatement and increase treatment plant efficiency over the next three years, according to district officials.

Among these is a tunnel that will divert wastewater from a segment of the 39th Street conduit that is often overwhelmed by wet weather flow.

When completed, officials say, the tunnel will keep 20 million gallons of stormwater and sewage from going into the South Branch of the Chicago River each times it rains.

In December, the district awarded a $146.4 million contract for construction of the tunnel to Kenny/Shea, a Joint Venture, a California-based company.

Other projects that would benefit from the state loans include new settling tanks for the Stickney water reclamation plant. These tanks remove organic and inorganic material from wastewater during the primary treatment phase.

The tanks are part of plans to improve water treatment and reduce odor at the Stickney plant.

The district will be able to take advantage of a state program that provides funds to local governments for wastewater infrastructure and improvements at half the market interest rate, with a floor of 2.5 percent.

Jennifer Slosar is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She covers environmental issues for the Daily News