Protecting Chicago’s Water Through Stormwater Management

flooding in Illinois

Chicago enjoys a variety of water resources, including Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and Lake Calumet. These water resources are used throughout the city for many things, including safe drinking water. The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy is key to the city’s stormwater management kit, and having a good rain gutter system can be beneficial for supporting these efforts.

Why is Stormwater Management Important?

Flooding can be devastating to homeowners, and green stormwater infrastructure is essential to diminishing risks for Chicago residents. As the city makes improvements, the flooding in future storms will be reduced and greater protect the Chicago environment. As one of the largest water infrastructure programs in America, this initiative will work to rebuild Chicago’s water systems. Besides control flooding, this initiative will improve the sustainability of the water systems and water quality. The water sources in Chicago are a valuable resource for residents, visitors, and wildlife. Stormwater runoff can cause a number of problems if it isn’t managed correctly; it can overwhelm sewer systems resulting in public health risks and property damage.

What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure?

As opposed to conventional approaches to stormwater management, green stormwater infrastructure works to handle precipitation where it falls rather than managing it as run off after the fact. This means making an environment that captures rainfall and stores it or filters it back into the ground. The goal of a green stormwater infrastructure is to keep water from overwhelming the sewer systems and mimic natural remedies that were present before the city was built. These natural solutions include increasing vegetation, wetlands, and parks to handle rain. Rainwater harvesting systems and pavement that can absorb water are some man-made solutions that may also be used.

What Can You Do?

Helping to conserve water can have an impact on your environment and help ensure that the water in Chicago continues to be a resource for future generations.

  • Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when there is a full load.
  • Use low water level features on appliances.
  • Water your lawn in the morning to minimize evaporation.
  • Repair leaky or dripping plumbing fixtures.
  • Turn water off while brushing your teeth.
  • Don’t dump dangerous chemicals down the drain; dispose of at hazardous waste drop-off facilities.
  • Disconnect your gutter downspouts during heavy storms, or install a rain collection barrel to prevent dumping stormwater into the sewer system.
  • Install a clog-free gutter system to ensure that water doesn’t run over your gutters do to clogs.

Water is an incredibly valuable resource, and is necessary for a variety of activities. By creating environments that are able to handle rainwater and conserving water in our homes, we can ensure quality water for future generations. Install a LeafGuard gutter system on your home and start working to direct stormwater into a collection barrel. Collecting rainwater is one of many ways we can help conserve.

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