Water Quality Planning
Development and agricultural practices in northeastern Illinois have changed the way water flows through our landscape and degraded water quality of our lakes, wetlands, streams, and rivers. Water quality impairments are caused by many sources, including combined sewer overflows, treatment plants, stormwater runoff, agricultural runoff, soil erosion, and others. In addition to reducing the quality of the habitat and biodiversity of our region, poor water quality can limit the extent to which we can use our water resources for drinking, fishing, recreation, and other uses.
As the delegated Areawide Water Quality Planning agency for the region, CMAP works with local governments and stakeholders to conserve and restore the region's water resources to help achieve the four goals of the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (Volume 1 and 2):
- Restoration and maintenance of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the region's waters.
- Elimination of all pollutant discharges into the region's waterways.
- Water quality which provides for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and provides for human recreation wherever attainable.
- Elimination of all discharges of wastes or pollutants into Lake Michigan.
CMAP works to improve water quality in five main program areas: watershed plan development, community implementation of projects that reduce nonpoint source pollution, review of Facility Planning Area (FPA) (wastewater treatment areas) amendment requests, coordinating the Illinois Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP), and assisting with local planning projects through the Local Technical Assistance program. In addition, CMAP and partners have produced a number of resources to help communities improve water quality. CMAP's activities are documented on an annual basis in Water Quality Activities Reports.
CMAP has worked with partners to develop watershed plans that recommend strategies to protect and remediate water quality.
CMAP assists municipalities and local organizations in implementing projects that are designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution to the region's rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act.
CMAP participates in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's formal review process for Facility Planning Area (FPA) amendment requests. Facility Planning Areas are defined as the geographic areas for which wastewater agencies plan for their infrastructure investments over a twenty-year period.
CMAP serves as the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program coordinator for the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, and Will. This program brings together citizens, state agency staff, and regional and local governmental staff to monitor and investigate the quality of Illinois's lakes.
CMAP and partners have developed a number of guides and reference materials to help municipalities as well as homeowners improve water quality.