Wastewater Planning Strategy Report Summary
Comprehensive wastewater planning and management is critical to protecting public health and the environment, maintaining a high quality of life, and promoting a sustainable economy. With the population in northeastern Illinois expected to grow to an estimated 10.9 million by 2040, there is an increasing demand for homes, schools, roads, and other infrastructure improvements to serve the population, including wastewater services. Expanding the sewer service area or the capacity of wastewater treatment plants will impact land use patterns which, in turn, degrades the region's water quality (both surface waters and groundwater).
This report addresses the issue of wastewater planning and management in northeastern Illinois. The first section of the report defines wastewater planning while the second portion addresses its environmental, public health, and economic impacts. The final section outlines strategies currently utilized by wastewater management agencies to mitigate adverse impacts of wastewater and includes some local case studies.
CMAP's goal is to encourage dialogue among counties, municipalities, designated management agencies (DMAs), and advocacy groups engaging the region in developing comprehensive recommendations to guide the development of the GO TO 2040 plan.
A sample of findings:
Primary Environmental Impacts
- The environmental effects of wastewater planning include impaired water quality and the extinction of oxygen-dependent organisms or animals within the waterbody and physical disturbances to environmental features including wetlands.
- Untreated sewage from combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows can contaminate the region's waters, causing serious water quality problems and threaten drinking water supplies since they often carry bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Primary Economic Impacts
- A regional investment of nearly 10 million dollars will likely be required for sanitary sewer infrastructure maintenance and upgrades over the next 20 years.
- The economic impacts of stormwater runoff, which is directly related to wastewater planning, can alter wetlands, alter an area's hydrologic functions, and increase impervious surfaces – leading to more frequent and severe flooding.