Overflow Action Days sits at the confluence of many different water issues--conservation, flooding, infrastructure, pollution, climate change.
Use these links to explore the many different aspects of sewer overflows. Deep Tunnel under construction. Photo courtesy MWRD.
Water Efficiency and Conservation
One of the simplest ways to contribute to Overflow Action Days is to use less water! These resources provide water conservation tips that protect the Chicago River.
- What is Our Water Worth?
- The Case for Fixing Leaks (CNT)
- Alliance for Water Efficiency Water Saving Tips
- EPA WaterSense Program
- EPA Water Efficiency and Conservation Resources
- U.S. Geological Survey Average American Water Use
In addition to environmental damage, extreme rains also harm the economy in the form of urban flooding. Learn more about how investments in water infrastructure can prevent flooding and property loss.
- Center for Neighborhood Technology's RainReady Program
- Out of the Floodplain: The Real Cost of Flooding (CNT)
- City of Chicago Basement Flooding Partnership
- Historic Chicago Bungalow Association's Rain Barrel Distribution program
Rain-smart Landscaping and Green Infrastructure
A healthy Chicago River depends on keeping rainwater where it falls. You can make improvements to your property that enhance its natural beauty and keeps stormwater out of the sewers.
- The Value of Green Infrastructure (CNT)
- MWRD Rain Barrel Program
- City of Chicago Disconnect Your Downspout
- NRDC Guide to Green Infrastructure
- 3 Rivers Wet Weather Guide to Inflow, Infiltration and Overflows
- EPA Green Acres Program
- EPA Low-Impact Design Guide
- EPA Guide to Inflow and Infiltration
State and Municipal Stormwater Plans
Local governments have laid out a number of plans for addressing Chicago's stormwater issues. Learn more about the plans and how you can contribute to a healthier Chicago River.
- City of Chicago Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy
- Chicago Green Infrastructure Study
- RainReady Midlothian Plan (CNT and Village of Midlothian)
- MWRD 2015 Strategic Plan
Nonpoint Source Pollution
Stormwater runoff, a nonpoint source pollutant according to EPA, is the most pressing pollution issue facing the Chicago River today. Learn more about how nonpoint source pollution affects our waterways.
- Illinois EPA Nonpoint Source Pollution Unit
- EPA Nonpoint Source Pollution Guides
- EPA Publications on Stormwater and Pollution
Sewer Systems and Combined Sewer Overflows
Overflow Action Days is aimed specifically at eliminating combined sewer overflows. Learn more about Chicago's sewer system and how MWRD processes wastewater and stormwater.
- MWRD Combined Sewer Overflow Information
- MWRD Tunnel and Reservoir Plan
- Tour of Stickney Water Reclamation Plant (YouTube)
- Before the Faucet, After the Flush: Treating Water in Chicago (YouTube)
- Thinking Big About Sewage (WTTW)
- EPA Guide to Combined Sewer Overflows
- EPA Water treatment Process Guide (for kids!)
- EPA Green Infrastructure Economic Evaluation
Climate Change and Extreme Weather
Climate data shows that a number of extreme rain events in Cook County has nearly doubled over the past 100 years. A changing climate presents great challenges for the health of the Chicago River.
- Chicago Climate Action Plan
- EPA Guide to Climate Change Effects on Midwestern Weather
- Stormwater and Climate Change
- NOAA Climate Database
- National Climate Assessment
Chicago River in the News
From floods to climate change to fishing, the Chicago River has made its fair share of headlines. this collection of links highlights the most pressing issues facing the Chicago River and the people, plants, and animals that depend on it.
Rain, Flooding, and Extreme Weather
- Heavy Rainstorms Are Chicago's Latest Weather Nightmare (Chicago Tribune)
- Heavy Rain Storm Prompts State of Emergency, Road Closures in Cook County (Huffington Post)
- Covering Chicago's Struggles with the Rain Starts, Ends with History (Chicago Tribune)
- How Often Does Sewage Flow Into the Chicago River? (DNAinfo)
- Crews Transport Residents by Boat as Heavy Rains Flood Northwest Side (DNAinfo)
- Climate Change: More Intense Rains Could Swamp Chicago's Aging Sewers (Chicago Tribune)
- Attack of the Chicago Climate Change Maggots (Washington Post)
- Climate Change Could Turn Chicago into Texas (DNAinfo)
- New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming (New York Times)
- Climate Change Could Worsen Chicago Floods (WBEZ)
- Where Does Your Poop Go? (WBEZ - Curious City)
Stormwater Management, Policy, and Infrastructure
- Thornton Quarry - the Grand Canyon of the South Suburbs - Will Soon Be Under Water (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Albany Park Tunnel Work Set for Summer, Will flood Hit Before It's Done? (DNAinfo)
- Deep Inside Chicago's Deep Tunnel (Chicago Magazine)
- Deep Tunnel Opens (Chicago Tribune)
- Combined Sewer Systems Lead to Risk of Illness After Heavy Rains (UIC)
Recovery on Water and Friends of the Chicago River
Recovery on Water (ROW) helps breast cancer survivors become active in their recovery by rowing the Chicago River. Watch this video to learn why Friends of the Chicago River's Overflow Action initiative is vital for ROW and all the people, plants, and animals that depend on the river.