Illinois EPA issues updated permit to Chicago for combined sewer overflows

(UI) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has issued a new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit to the city of Chicago that will bring additional oversight and monitoring of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to Chicago area waterways.

Permit revisions include substantial enhancements to the permit resulting from robust stakeholder input.

"This final permit is an outstanding example of collaboration between government entities, environmental advocates, and other members of the public to bring about a robust permit that will further protect the waters and our environment in the greater Chicago area," Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim said. "While this permit expands on monitoring of combined sewer overflows, it also incorporates a number of other requirements to further address issues raised through the public engagement."

The final permit governs eleven outfalls with discharges to waters of the State. These discharges may occur following and after significant rainfall events, which result in the reservoirs operated by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) that support the city's sewer system reach capacity.

The final permit includes heightened monitoring standards to ensure discharges do not adversely impact waterways in and around Chicago. The final permit also contains enhanced reporting, planning, and public engagement requirements, which prioritize the protection of communities of Environmental Justice concern.

The final permit, which is effective April 1, 2024, and Responsiveness Summary can be found on the Illinois EPA website.

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