Posted on February 10, 2011 3:34 PM
Water 2050 Update, 2-10-11
Progress from CMAP
Water Resources Forum. On January 27, 2011, CMAP hosted the second Water Resources Forum, "The Problem with Water: Regional Flooding and Stormwater Management." The forum drew significant interest from practitioners representing various parts of the region. Attendees learned about the basics of flood insurance, how to reduce premiums through the Community Rating System, and the grant programs available through FEMA. Innovative funding for stormwater management was the topic of the second panel, in which representatives from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Region V provided examples from across the country on the use of the Clean Water State Revolving Funds for stormwater management utilizing green practices. The Director of Public Works of the City of Rolling Meadows shared the City’s experience with implementing stormwater utility fees as a mechanism for maintaining their stormwater infrastructure systems. The final panel delved into two scales of stormwater management. Attendees heard about the progress to date by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and how green practices may be incorporated in the Cook County Stormwater Management Ordinance. A case study on the use of Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development funds for the establishment of a recreational facility that manages stormwater in a frequently-flooded area was presented by staff and consultants for the Village of Lisle.
Several attendees indicated that the topics were all very beneficial to their work in communities. Presentations will be available soon at our Water 2050 website. Medill Reports Chicago wrote about the forum and interviewed CMAP's newest Board member, President Mike Gorman of Riverside, as well as staff member Tim Loftus. The next Water Resource Forum will be held in the spring on the value of water resources.
Save the Date: Natural Lawn Care workshop. As part of implementing Water 2050, CMAP and collaborating partners are presenting a one-day workshop, "Natural Lawn Care," at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines On March 23. This workshop is for landscape companies, turf managers, homeowner associations, and public employees who are interested in learning from national and local experts how to succeed with organics, build healthier turf naturally, expand their business, and become more sustainable. Natural lawn care is a solution that can reduce energy, pesticide, fertilizer, and water inputs necessary to have a healthy lawn, thereby enhancing the environment and saving money. This workshop is part of Healthy Landscapes Healthy Lakes, a project funded by the U.S EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). For more information on the Healthy Landscapes project, contact Margaret Schneemann at MSchneemann@cmap.illinois.gov.
Progress in the Region
New Lake Michigan permittees. Water 2050 recommended that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) continue to help communities to transition from deep bedrock aquifer to Lake Michigan water to ease dewatering of the deep bedrock aquifer. Last month they did just that by approving the allowance of 10 Lake County communities to tap into Lake Michigan. Now, these communities face no small task in determining how to raise the $250 million necessary to make this happen, as well as balancing the costs of obtaining Lake Michigan water against the costs of staying on groundwater and implementing any necessary water conservation and source protection programs.
Watershed presentations. CMAP and local planning partners The Conservation Foundation and Environmental Defenders of McHenry County are continuing the watershed planning process in the Fox River Basin. McHenry Water Resources Manager Cassandra McKinney and CMAP’s Tim Loftus were invited to speak to stakeholders within the Sleepy Hollow Creek and Silver Creek Watershed in January. Loftus’ presentation highlighted key Water 2050 groundwater management recommendations and addressed regional concerns, including implementation of CMAP’s Model Water Use Conservation Ordinance. McKinney’s presentation highlighted key recommendations of McHenry County’s Water Resources Action Plan. At the January meetings for Ferson-Otter Creek and Blackberry Creek Watersheds, discussion focused on open-space protection. Please refer to the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership website for information regarding the planning process.
Little Calumet River meeting. On February 17, the Little Calumet River Watershed Planning Council will meet at the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association, located at 1904 West 174th Street in Hazel Crest. The public is invited to attend this meeting, which takes place at 6:00 p.m.
Rebate programs webinar. On February 18, the Illinois and Wisconsin sections of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) will host the webinar "Planning Effective Toilet Rebate & Other Incentive Programs: Lessons Learned in the Midwest." The webinar is free for AWWA members and costs $15 for non-members.
ICMP public hearing. On February 18, IDNR will host a public hearing on the new Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP). Participation is also available via webinar. The ICMP focus areas are included in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, and the program would provide $2 million to fund a grants program for projects such as local coastal area planning, shoreline buffer zones, economic development of waterfront areas, and more.
Liquid Assets documentary. On February 24, CMAP will be co-hosting a viewing of the documentary Liquid Assets with the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Liquid Assets is a 90-minute documentary created by Penn State University and funded by ASCE as a public media and outreach initiative that seeks to inform the nation about the critical role that our water infrastructure plays in protecting public health and promoting economic prosperity. Prior to the screening, Darren Olson, the current Illinois Section ASCE President, will begin the evening with an ASCE Infrastructure Report Card review. Registration is free and limited to the first 100 people to register with Katie Owens at email@example.com. The event will be held at CMAP offices at 5:30 p.m.
Illinois AWWA conference. The Illinois AWWA section will hold its annual conference in Springfield from March 21 to 24 with the Illinois Water Environment Association. The latest in technology, equipment, and best practices related to water and wastewater will be shared.
Resource management symposium. The 17th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) will be held in two locations this year: June 4 to 8 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and June 13 to 17 at the University of Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The Madison symposium theme is “Integrating Conservation and Sustainable Living,” and the deadline for abstract submission is February 15. The Malaysia symposium theme is “Natural Resource Development and Conservation: Negotiating Boundaries, Knowledge and Power.”
New wastewater report. A report prepared through a U.S. EPA grant for Columbus Water Works evaluates combined heat and power technologies for wastewater facilities. Wastewater treatment and conveyance processes consume significant amounts of energy. The report provides methods to conserve energy by reducing energy required during the treatment plant process and includes both process descriptions and performance and cost data. The report may be used as a planning tool for wastewater professionals since it provides technical information about existing technologies for converting biogas to energy projects within wastewater treatment facilities.
NPDES training. Web-based training for National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit writers is now available through the U.S. EPA as a five-day course.
NECO website. Networked Neighborhoods for Eco-Conservation Online's (NECO) website allows individuals to post water conservation and other green practice activities in order to help improve the health of the Great Lakes by providing a venue for sharing case studies and networking. The website also provides tools to calculate the amount of water saved by rain gardens, rain barrels, and other green landscape practices. Individuals can also create a report showing the environmental impact of green practices in entire neighborhoods and/or watersheds.
CILER fellowship. The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) announced that its summer internship program is open to students interested in researching Great Lakes issues under professional mentorship guidance. Internships are available in the areas of climate adaptation, education, communications and outreach, invasive species, hydrologic modeling, and more. Applications are due February 28.
Water in the News
Coal tar sealants. Across the nation, there has been increasing concern over use of coal tar-based sealants (CTS), and metropolitan Chicago is no exception. CTS, used as a periodic coating on driveways, playgrounds, and parking lots, wear over time and enter homes, schools, and our waters. In January, the Chicago Tribune ran a story on elevated benzo(a)pyrene (a toxic chemical used in coal tar) levels in Lake in the Hills. A model ordinance on CTS from McHenry is available online.
Chromium in the Great Lakes. The Tribune also ran a story on chromium in Lake Michigan, which ends up in drinking water and has been linked to cancer. While the U.S. EPA does not currently require testing of drinking water for chromium, levels of chromium were found to be very high in certain Midwest cities. The levels of chromium in Madison, WI drinking water were 26 times greater than a proposed safety limit in California. The amount of chromium in Milwaukee’s and Chicago’s drinking water is three times greater than California's proposed safety limit.
Stormwater fees ruling. Stormwater Management Fees are just that and are not taxes, according to a ruling by the 111th Congress during its final days. This bill, signed by President Obama on January 4, is an amendment to the Clean Water Act, which states that such service fees are applicable to federal entities, as well as any nongovernmental entities, and are based on “some fair approximation of the proportionate contribution of the property or facility to stormwater pollution.” This ruling is consistent with the recommendations of the Land and Water chapter of Water 2050.
Wettest year on record. An analysis by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) shows that 2010 was the wettest year on record and is tied with 2005 as the hottest since record keeping began in 1880. Many events make 2010 memorable in terms of global climatology, including the summer heat wave in Russia and the extreme floods in Pakistan, Australia, and many parts of the U.S., as detailed in this article from The New York Times. Many regions of the Northeast and Midwest of the country are still experiencing remarkable snowstorms, and snowstorms in the cities of Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia shattered records in February 2010.
About the Water 2050 newsletter
Regional water-resource stewardship took a giant leap forward on January 26, 2010, when the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) unanimously approved a plan that aims to avoid imbalances between water demand and regional supplies. Read more in this press release. Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan was developed over the past three years by CMAP staff with input and guidance from the RWSPG, the Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The next steps we must take as a region to implement water plan recommendations are equally important. A new commitment to water-use conservation and demand management is the cornerstone of the water plan. Among the attributes of any successful conservation program are political leadership, stable funding, education, and outreach. This Water 2050 newsletter is designed to be one such outreach mechanism. This newsletter will be issued on the second Thursday of every other month. This will be a means to communicate newsworthy items, share valuable resources, and promote ongoing and diverse efforts around water resources planning and management, both at CMAP and throughout the region. We are interested in your water news! This newsletter will feature local examples of water planning and conservation, so please contact Justine Reisinger (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8802) with your news and examples.