During almost every discussion about Wilmette sewers, there comes a point when I realize: Wait a minute–we’re not talking about the same sewer system!
In fact, Wilmette does not have one sewer, or two, it has three, possibly four, distinct systems. Paris has nothing on us!
Can you find your neighborhood sewer systems on the map?
You’ll notice that west of Ridge Road there are two separate systems: a storm sewer (for runoff), and the sanitary sewer (for sewage from toilets, sinks, washers, etc.).
East of Ridge Road, there’s a combined sewer for everything (sewage and runoff). There’s also a relief sewer to handle overflows.
Take a Tour
It would be great if we could put on our hard hats and take an actual tour of our underground tunnels. But our sewers include miles of clay pipes that are only 8 to 12 inches in diameter. So instead our “tour” will have to rely on maps and fact sheets:
Just to make the whole thing more complicated, Wilmette is part of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), which treats Wilmette’s sewage. In the “tours” (above), you’ll see a complex web of connections to the MWRD and its backup tunnels and reservoirs (TARP).
Test Your Knowledge
Now that you’ve picked up a few facts, see if you can answer these tricky questions:
Creating this post was my biggest challenge so far… If you have any questions or corrections, please send input using the form (below). Thanks!
Find out about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD):
- Take the MWRD’s video tour of the Northside Water Reclamation Plant (at Howard St, Skokie).
- Read about the Northside WRP, which is now called the Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant.
- Find out about MWRD handling of industrial waste.