MWRD cuts ribbon for major flood relief reservoir

Sept. 1, 2023
The 600-acre-foot Addison Creek Reservoir will hold 195 million gallons of storage capacity, reducing overbank flooding to approximately 2,200 structures and removing 1,700 structures from the flood plain.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and its partners cut the ribbon on the Addison Creek Reservoir, the first of two major projects that will provide flood relief for communities along Addison Creek.

The 600-acre-foot Addison Creek Reservoir in Bellwood will hold 195 million gallons of storage capacity and connect with the Addison Creek Channel, where additional improvements will reduce overbank flooding to approximately 2,200 structures, including an estimated 1,700 structures that will be removed from the flood plain.

“This is a great day,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “Thanks to the continued collaboration between the MWRD, six communities, and multiple funding partners, we are standing above a future reservoir that will capture excess stormwater and mitigate flooding for our partners in these municipalities. This investment leads to improved local quality of life and fosters new peace of mind the next time it rains.”

The $81 million reservoir at 2795 Washington Blvd. in Bellwood will provide $116 million in flood benefits. Construction includes a control structure, inlet structure, spillway and pumping station. This project is partially funded through $5 million in Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) funds from the U.S.

The $77 million channel improvements project will take place over a three-mile stretch of the creek. The MWRD will lower, widen and stabilize the existing Addison Creek Channel to allow for a higher flow of water to pass through during a flooding event, and protect neighboring residents and businesses. Improvements include a mix of natural design, gabion baskets, soldier pile walls, concrete, riprap, articulated concrete blocks, vegetation clearing and removal of three bridges.

The Channel Improvement project received a $9.9 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security.

“This project is a prominent example of breaking the cycle of disaster damage, and FEMA is proud to support this important work,” said FEMA Region 5 Regional Administrator Tom Sivak. “FEMA has been prioritizing the movement of unprecedented amounts of mitigation funding into the hands of communities and local partners, like MWRD, who are acting on their commitment to make this nation safer for future generations.”

HMGP provides funding to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures following a presidentially declared disaster.

“The outstanding partnerships with FEMA through HMGP funding will help reduce the flood hazards in the Addison Creek Watershed and keep everyone safe,” said Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “This program will strengthen Addison Creek and greatly reduce the flood dangers and hazards in the six communities in Cook County Illinois.”

In addition to providing flood control benefits, the reservoir will serve as compensatory storage for the channel improvement project. The MWRD will operate and maintain the control and inlet structures, spillway, piping and pump station, while Bellwood will maintain the grounds including landscaping, fencing, and access roadways.

The MWRD first identified the Addison Creek stormwater management projects in 2011 in the agency’s Lower Des Plaines River Detailed Watershed Plan, which sought solutions to regional flooding issues.

Construction on the Addison Creek Channel is expected to be completed by 2026. Full flood reduction benefits will be fully achieved when both projects are completed.

When the channel improvements project is completed, the MWRD will submit a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Upon approval of the LOMR, some property owners may be eligible to obtain lower cost premiums on their flood insurance policies.

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