Subscribe to RSS
banner

Thornton Reservoir to handle water excess on Chicago’s South Side

Thorton Reservoir on South Side of Chicago

Thorton Reservoir on South Side of Chicago

August 21, 2015

By:ahermans

“[The current] system works well in dry weather, but in heavy rains the intercepting sewers and water reclamation plants can reach capacity and result in combined sewer overflows into the river, impairing water quality and contributing to flooding,” said Allison Fore, the public and intergovernmental affairs officer for the MWRD. “TARP is being built to capture 20.5 billion gallons of that combined sewage and store it so that it doesn’t end up in the waterways or basements.”

The Thornton reservoir, one of three reservoirs in the TARP project, is 700 feet wide by 1,400 feet long with a 300 foot depth, and holds 7.9 billion gallons.

“[Right now] I believe that this is the biggest reservoir of this kind in the United States, and maybe the world,” said Adel Awar, the project’s senior civil engineer.

To put it into perspective, this massive space could hold twelve Soldier Field’s stacked on together. It will collect water from a 91 square mile area, serving about 556,000 people south of 87th St. in Chicago, as well as in 13 of Chicagoland’s southern municipalities.

“People in the affected areas will see less pollution in the Cal Sag Channel, less flooding and basement backups, and more wildlife diversity. The reservoir won’t solve all problems but the help it will provide will be substantial,” said Fore.

The reservoir will take in water through two tunnels; a smaller one, 20 feet in diameter, will bring in stormwater from area riverways, and the other, 30 feet in diameter, will connect with the existing tunnel system to bring sewage into the storage space. Water will flow naturally into the reservoir and gates will hold the water there until dry weather conditions are reached. Then the gates will slowly open and let water flow back into the tunnels and toward the treatment plants.

“Now the flow can come easily from the tunnel to our reservoir,” Awar said. But he added that each municipality will have to make sure their tunnel systems are updated and able to send their overflow to the reservoir.

“All the municipalities, they have to do their homework to improve their system and to get a good collection system,” he said. If any municipality does not have a compatible system, “we can’t help them.”

The reservoir is a converted quarry; it was mined out by Hanson Material Service (HMS) for it’s limestone, which is used to make cement used in roadways. Once HMS finished, MWRD bought the leftover cavern and began converting it into the Thornton Reservoir. This process has included installing a “grout curtain” around the walls to ensure that the porous limestone surface does not let water escape. About one gallon of grout is inserted into the ground for every cubic foot of space, leading to a combined 150 miles of grout strips. The two tunnels also had to be dug, installed, and fortified with grout and cement.

“You have a lot of different aspects of construction, all of them under civil engineering,” Awar said of taking on the massive project. “I get sick of small buildings here and there… I told my bosses I wanted to end my career with a big civil project.”
The reservoir is the second piece of the larger three-part TARP project, which began construction in 1975 and is projected to be completely finished in 2029. The first, the Majewski Reservoir near O’Hare airport, holds 350 million gallons of water. The final piece, the McCook reservoir, will hold 10 billion gallons and become the largest reservoir in the country. At 8 billion gallons, Thornton is an impressive and impactful addition to the project and is predicted to save $40 million per year in flood damages.

The complete TARP project has been called the “largest civil engineering project on Earth,” and according to the MWRD’s website, “TARP was named by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the nation’s top Clean Water Act success stories and is serving as a model urban water management tool worldwide.”

0 comments

Add your comment

Nickname:
E-mail:
Website:
Comment:

Other articlesgo to homepage

Healthcare Tech Investing Panel at MATTER Chicago with John Pletz Crain’s Chicago Business

Healthcare Tech Investing Panel at MATTER Chicago with John Pletz Crain’s Chicago Business(0)

Matter Chicago, 60654 On Tuesday, September 29, BreakingVoices.com @StartupCity Chicago streamed live a panel discussion on Healthcare Tech investing hosted by Crain’s Chicago Business blogger John Pletz. The panel discussion took place at MATTER Chicago’s Health Tech Business incubator. The panel discussed questions investors ask entrepreneurs, offered suggestions for trends in the health IT sector,

Program 3 Hyde Park Angels Entrepreneurial Education Series

Program 3 Hyde Park Angels Entrepreneurial Education Series(0)

1871 Business Incubator, Chicago, 60654 In Program III of its Entrepreneurial Education Series, Hyde Park Angels presented “Connecting Corporations and Startups” on Thursday, September 24, 2015. BreakingVoices.com broadcasted the event live at 1871 Chicago’s largest business technology incubator. The third program in the series included a panel of experts: David Weinstein, Founder/Managing Partner, Freshwater Advisors

Lincoln Park Chicago mental health facility Clayton Residential Home struggles with lack of Illinois state budget

Lincoln Park Chicago mental health facility Clayton Residential Home struggles with lack of Illinois state budget(0)

August 13, 2015 2026 Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614 By: ahermans “There’s no way that we could exist without a budget,” worried Jessica Lyke, the executive director of Clayton Residential Home, a specialized mental health and rehabilitation facility (SMHRF) for adults with mental illness. Illinois recently entered its second month without a state budget; state

Chicago aldermen decide on liquor moratorium lift for Devon Avenue in Roger’s Park

Chicago aldermen decide on liquor moratorium lift for Devon Avenue in Roger’s Park(0)

August 6, 2015 By: FeliciaD In an statement on Thursday, August 6 Alderman Joe Moore (49th) announced that he, Ald. Osterman (48th), and Ald. O’Connor (40th) will support the proposal to lift the liquor moratorium on Devon Avenue. Ald. Moore also stated that Ald. Osterman will also support the zoning change in order for the

Techweek Chicago Jam Packed With Startups in Finance, Food, Fashion, Fitness, and Workspace Solutions

Techweek Chicago Jam Packed With Startups in Finance, Food, Fashion, Fitness, and Workspace Solutions(0)

Merchandise Mart, Chicago, 60654 By:StartupCity #Chicago During a jam-packed first day of Techweek Chicago 2015, speakers, vendors, and more than 100 entrepreneurs and startup companies engaged with each other, learned about others’ projects, and presented their own innovations. Tech food startups A large section of the conference hall was dedicated to the Techweek Launch Competition,

read more

Contacts and information

Social networks

Most popular categories

Copyright © 2011 BreakingVoices.com is a 360 NewsNow Media, Inc. Company All rights reserved.