Mariyana Spyropoulos is the President of the Board of the Municipal Water Reclamation District.  
Today we were joined by Mariyana Spyropoulos and Tom Gannon from the Municipal Water Reclamation District (MWRD).  Mariyana is the President of the District's nine member board.  The MWRD is a tax-funded agency responsible for the management and treatment of waste and storm water in Cook County.  
The MWRD manages four intake cribs located two miles out in Lake Michigan.  They're located so far away to ensure the water isn't polluted by ground runoff.  The water is sent to treatment plants where they water is made 95% clean.  While not fit for human consumption, this water is used for industry and other similar purposes.  This process also removes the solid wastes from the water.  This waste is turned into fertilizer and provided free to local agencies such as park districts.  However, the MWRD is looking to market this fertilizer commercially to homeowners in the near future.  
While the MWRD does a remarkable job in treating our wastewater, they're not where they want to be just yet, especially with the Chicago River and the Sanitary and Ship Canal.  Both waterways are much cleaner than they were a few decades ago, but they still do not meet EPA/Clean Water Act guidelines.  The MWRD's goal is to have Chicago's public waterways clean enough to swim in.  
In the 1960's the MWRD began the long-term Deep Tunnel program to prevent storm water overflow by digging 109 miles of tunnels.  The next phase of the project was the creation of four large resovoirs.  The Final reservoir is near completion and when it is, the system will have a capacity of 17.5 billion (with a B) gallons of water.  
On a local level, the MWRD works with local municipalities to offer free rain barrels to businesses and homeowners.  These 50 gallon barrels can be used to store rainwater to water plants, lawns, gardens, etc.  They're designed to prevent mosquito nests and are a great way to lessen storm runoff while reducing the amount of faucet water used.  
The MWRD does a lot of great things - more than I realized at least.