An older view shows it as an active quarry with the I-294 bridge over the access road and a couple of deeper access tunnels.
|3D Satellite, looking South|
Phase I, which is north of the crushing plant and will hold 3.5 billion gallons, will open near the end of 2017. That is why the MRWD is offering tours during 6 days during Aug-Oct. I caught a tour on the first day, Aug 6. After it becomes operational and they let wastewater into the reservoir, I'm sure it will be off limits to public view. (On the tour, I learned that Joliet road is closed between 55th and East Ave. because Vulcan caused a collapse in the road.) Phase II will hold an additional 6.5 billion gallons and is scheduled for completion in 2029. The tunnel system was done in 2006. One reason it has taken so long to dig the reservoirs is that the housing (and construction) collapse in 2008 caused the market for stone aggregate to dry up.
I took a photo of the backdrop that they had for photo shoots because it is a view from the bottom that I knew I would not be able to take myself.
The tour bus first went past their biosolids drying lagoons.
the Centennial Trail from Route 83 because the hill is a long ways from the Columbia Woods Willow Springs Road entrance.
|Satellite view captures Centennial Hill when it was still being constructed.|
We see that drill at about the same location in the photo, but at a different angle. They have just begun the next layer of the dig.
One advantage of taking a lot of pictures is that I can see things when I zoom in on a photo that I did not notice during the trip.
Three more shots as we drove past the wall.
We have had enough rain storms lately to demonstrate that the bottom is not sloped towards the drain. When the guide overheard some of us talking about that, he explained that was deliberate because it makes the reservoir act like a big settling pond. During dry weather they plan to come in and dig out the residual biosolids. So that will reduce the workload on the Stickney Water Treatment Plant.
dolostone. To seal the overburden, they built a 3' wide slurry wall using bentonite. Bentonite is a clay that packs so well it becomes impervious to water.
a video of its arrival.
"Crowds flock to MWRD's Stunning View of McCook Reservoir"
[The article provides a stat I've been looking for: the tunnels themselves can hold 2.3 billion gallons. I also learned that the two grout walls connect with an impermeable natural layer of shale that is under the reservoir at around 325 feet. The age of the dolostone is 400 million years.]
Today [2017 Dec 4] we marked a historic milestone as we celebrated the completion of Stage I of the McCook Reservoir, one of the biggest achievements to date in the MWRD's Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP). The McCook Reservoir will mitigate flooding and prevent pollution from entering our waterways by serving as a holding place to allow our treatment plants more time to keep up with significant rain events. The addition of Stage I will more than triple the storage capacity for the 3.1 million people it serves across Chicago and 36 suburban communities. It increases the 1.6 billion gallons currently stored in two separate tunnel systems to a combined 5.1 billion gallons of storage that is estimated to provide an average of $114 million per year in flood damage reduction benefits. We thank our project partners at the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers and for our guests today who have all contributed to this vital project: Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, USEPA Acting Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan, Region 5, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District Commander Col. Aaron Reisinger, Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina, McCook Mayor and Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, Kevin Burke, vice president of the Operating Engineers Local 150, and Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter.
WTTW tour of the McCook Reservoir
MWRD posted about WTTW's coverage of the ribbon cutting ceremony.
CHICAGO AREA RESERVOIR TO SAVE ESTIMATED $114M IN FLOOD AND POLLUTION REDUCTION
Update: We had enough rain to use the reservoir, so there have been some articles about it receiving water: estormwater, workingpressure, and their press release with three photos:
Here are a couple of more photos taken at the McCook Reservoir today. The poles and chains you see in the midst of all that flow are used to tether the solar powered aerators, keeping them in place while allowing them to float up and down with the water elevation changes.
|Dennis DeBruler posted|
So which model is this? It is being used to build a dam between the north lobe and the rest of the Thornton Quarry so that the north lobe can keep polluted storm water out of the Chicago area rivers.
[To summarize the comments: 777 series 2 with a luffer. There are also comments concerning the heights of man lifts and the size of a 777's boom.]
Rob Festenstein Where does the water eventually go? Can you explain the engineering to a lay person? Thanks so much for all you do.
Dennis DeBruler The Main Pumping Station will pump it back up to the Stickney Water Treatment Plant to take advantage of the plant's full capacity until the reservoir is empty.
Dennis DeBruler How full was the Thornton Reservoir?
Allison Hirsch Fore Thornton Reservoir held about 2 billion gallons with space for 5.9 billion gallons more!
Reginald Napalm IV What are estimates on how long to pump it out?
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater ChicagoReginald Napalm IV it will take about 10 days if there is no more rain.
Melissa Crawford Were the locks opened at any time to Lake Michigan during this past week's rain event? Where can the public access information about opening of the locks?
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater ChicagoMelissa Crawford The locks weren't opened during this rain event. Lake Michigan reversals can be found on our website at mwrd.org.Click on Services & Facilities - combined sewer overflows - Summary of Lake Michigan reversals.
Allison Hirsch Fore We work around the clock to provide flood protection for Cook County. This week's storm had significant rain mixed with snow melt which triggered flash flood watches throughout the region. In anticipation of these storms, it is our goal to provide maximum capacity in the area waterways and in the TARP system to provide as much protection from flooding as possible. The good news is that TARP prevented 9.2 billion gallons of water from entering streets, many basements and from polluting our waterways during this week's storm. Still, we realize TARP is not the answer for every flooding problem. Sewer backups may arise for a variety of reasons, ranging from conveyance of water flow in local pipes, the groundwater table, undersized drainage designs and roof loads and sump pumps attached to house lines. We know having water intrude into your home can leave you feeling helpless, but there are actions homeowners can take to prevent repeat flooding. A local licensed plumber should be able to evaluate what is causing the problem and recommend solutions. We also encourage you to notify your local municipalities so they can track locations of basement backups and flooding. This will help them determine where to focus future engineering and green infrastructure projects.
Allison Hirsch Fore By the way, this is Allison from the MWRD office of public affairs. Please call our office at 312-751-6633 if you would like additional insight into the role of TARP or if you would like to tour our facilities.
The MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan is hard at work following another round of showers. Operating at full capacity, stage I of the McCook Reservoir collected 3.5 billion gallons of water, while nearby crews continued the expansion of the Des Plaines Tunnel System to improve the connection to the reservoir. Without this critical infrastructure, billions of gallons of water would pollute our waterways and flood our basements and streets.
For immediate release
October 31, 2018
MWRD, Army Corps project earns mega engineering award from ASCE
The Illinois Section of the The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and project partner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE, with a prestigious honor in mitigating flooding and improving local water quality.
For their roles on the Chicago Underflow Plan (CUP) and McCook Reservoir project, the USACE and MWRD were awarded with the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, Mega Project Award. The award was presented at the ASCE Illinois Section Awards Dinner held earlier this month at The Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier.
“Congratulations to our engineers at the MWRD and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chicago Office for collaborating and fulfilling a critical plan that will protect our waterways from pollution and our homes and streets from flooding,” said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. “The McCook Reservoir has been showered with awards in its first year, but it is the heavy rain showers that the reservoir protects us from that allows it to truly make its mark.”
The USACE’s CUP and the MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) consists of three reservoirs intended primarily for flood control for the Chicago area serviced by combined sewers. It also works to prevent pollution in local waterways. Two of the TARP reservoirs are completed, including the Majewski Reservoir (350 million gallons) and the Thornton Composite Reservoir (7.9 billion gallons). The McCook Reservoir is being constructed in two stages; the first stage was completed last December and the second will be done by 2029.
Benefitting 3.1 million people living in Chicago and 36 suburbs, McCook Reservoir Stage I captures and stores water before it can be sent by gravity and pumped from TARP to MWRD water reclamation plants to be cleaned and released to waterways. Since coming into service at the beginning of 2018, the reservoir has captured 20 billion gallons of water. Stage 1 of the reservoir has 3.5 billion gallons of storage capacity and provides an estimated $114 million per year in flood reduction benefits, while also capturing untreated water that previously overflowed into waterways during storm events. Stage II of the reservoir, due for completion by 2029, will be able to hold an additional 6.5 billion gallons. When complete, the four TARP tunnel systems and three huge reservoirs the tunnels flow into, will have a capacity of more than 20 billion gallons.
“Thank you to the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers for recognizing these crowning engineering achievements made through the implementation of the Chicago Underflow Plan and the construction of the McCook Reservoir,” said MWRD Commissioner Frank Avila. “TARP is putting tax dollars to work and providing relief at a time when unpredictable weather patterns are impacting our daily lives.”
When it is completed, McCook will surpass the MWRD’s Thornton Composite Reservoir as the largest reservoir of its type in the world. The reservoir will be so large that more than 11 Soldier Field Stadiums could fit inside it, and is nearly deep enough at 300 feet to stack another 11 on top of that. To create Stage I of the combined sewer reservoir, the MWRD removed 9.4 million cubic yards of overburden, enough to fill the Merchandise Mart eight times over.
“The McCook Reservoir project is an exceptional project that reduces the flood risk to over 3 million people in the Chicagoland area,” said William A. Rochford, P.E., Chief, Geotechnical & Survey Section, USACE. “This project was envisioned by the MWRD many decades ago and was implemented by the Corps in partnership with the MWRD through the efforts of many individuals of both our organizations and the many design and construction firms needed to bring the project together. It required many innovative and creative solutions to significant challenges in order to safely construct a reservoir 300-ft below ground between two waterways and next to an interstate highway. The benefits of this project have been demonstrated almost immediately since becoming operational this past January, having been filled four times so far this year. It has been a project that has advanced the state of the art in numerous areas and has been a great pleasure and professionally rewarding to be a part of the team that is making this project a success.”
An MWRD posting that has the above two "full" photos plus a pannable 180-degree view.
Tom Skilling posted about the full Phase I reservoir.
Time lapse video of the reservoir filling up. They need to put better hoods over the camera lenses. They are wet quite a bit of the time. The MWRD posting indicated the video covered 2 days.
The March 18, 2018 Chicago Tribune had a front page article about the filling of this reservoir. First of all, the filling shows that the second phase that will expand the capacity from 3.5 to 10 billion gallons by 2029 is needed. (The tunnels themselves hold 1.6 billion gallons.) This article indicated the initial fill took only 20 hours. "Officials at the water reclamation district were alarmed by the rate of sewage and runoff rushing into the section that opened in December. If the storm had dumped a little more rain on the area, St. Pierre acknowledged, even the larger reservoir would have been filled within a day." Yet a couple of paragraphs later, St. Pierre said "This time the system held on for 20 hours, which makes me fairly optimistic that what we saw last month will be relatively rare."
One of the things I haven't seen explained recently is that the reservoirs do hold the "first flush." That is the first gush of water caused by a rainstorm flushes all of the "stuff" that is setting in the sewer pipes into the reservoir. That means, if later in the storm, water backs up because the TARP is full, it is relatively clean storm water rather than sewage that is coming up into basements, onto streets, and overflowing into the rivers.