Thursday, August 30
Greens for MWRD
Contact: 773-809-4547 or

Statement: Explosion & Collapse at Calumet Water Reclamation Plant

Green Party candidates for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners have been made aware of the explosion and structural collapse at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant’s sludge concentration building.

We are extremely relieved to hear reports that all people on-site have been rescued from the area, and we are deeply grateful to Chicago’s emergency services and first responders for their handling of the crisis. Our sympathies are with those injured during the explosion and its aftermath.

Currently, preliminary investigations suggest a methane explosion. Reports from local residents of a strong methane smell in the days prior to the explosion raise concerns about the department’s responsiveness to potential hazards.

The Calumet plant is one of only two MWRD treatment plants (out of seven total) that applies a third-stage disinfecting treatment to its outflow. With recent heavy rains and more expected over the weekend, its continuing function is a critical part of Cook County’s wastewater management.

As we wait for further information, we hope that, unlike in the recent case of Executive Director David St. Pierre’s departure following an undisclosed investigation, MWRD leadership will be prompt and transparent in providing the full details of the incident and the Calumet plant’s capacities to the public.

For more information, contact Greens for MWRD at, or call 773-809-4547. The Green Party candidates on the November 6th ballot will be: Chris Anthony, Karen Roothaan, and Tammie Vinson for full, six-year terms, and Rachel Wales and Geoffrey Cubbage to fill two partial, two-year vacancies.

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