Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program

Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity

Application Deadline: August 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT




Program Goals


Evaluation Metrics

Cost Share Funding

General Green Infrastructure (GI) Cost Share Requirements

How to Apply

Reference Documents


The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is accepting project applications for partnership funding opportunities. MWRD seeks to partner with local municipalities and public agencies to install green infrastructure (GI) throughout Cook County. Submitted applications will be evaluated based on the engineering effectiveness of the GI practices amongst several other criteria. Responsibilities of selected applicants will be defined through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the MWRD. The submission deadline for the application is August 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT. Late or partial applications will not be accepted.

To learn how to apply to the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program, click How to Apply.


MWRD encourages and supports implementing GI. GI is a range of engineered installations that store, infiltrate, and/or evaporate stormwater, thereby mimicking the natural water cycle. The MWRD recognizes that GI practices can be effective in reducing wet-weather flows to combined sewer systems, reducing combined sewer overflows to local waterways, and reducing runoff volumes and improving water quality in separate sewer service areas. The MWRD also recognizes the vital role of local government in addressing flooding concerns through the innovative use of GI.

In 2014, the MWRD established the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program to increase the acceptance and investment of GI throughout Cook County. Since that time, the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program has partnered with dozens of agencies to fund GI projects such as rain gardens, bioswales/bioretention areas, permeable pavement systems, and rain water harvesting systems.

Starting in 2017, the MWRD introduced the Green Infrastructure Call for Projects to scale up its investment into GI. The program resulted with the MWRD partnering with 19 communities and public agencies throughout Cook County to fund and build GI projects. Due to the success of the program, a 2018 Call for Projects was released and the MWRD partnered with 19 additional communities and public agencies. These projects will provide up to 5 million gallons of stormwater runoff storage to over 1,400 benefiting structures with the use of rain gardens, bioswales, and permeable pavement in parking lots, alleys, and residential streets. The MWRD is now currently reaching out to agencies within its boundaries to identify even more GI project opportunities, and we are excited to see what ideas will be proposed.

Program Goals

The MWRD’s goals for the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program are:

  • Build GI to reduce stormwater flows to local sewer systems and prevent combined sewer overflows;

  • Use GI to address local flooding and draining problems;

  • Promote GI as a complimentary way to manage stormwater with natural systems;

  • Aesthetically enhance public areas and increase a community’s “green space”; and

  • Provide improvements in water quality.

Eligibility Requirements

The following are the eligibility requirements for MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program:

  • Projects must be within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries.

  • Projects must be designed to manage stormwater using green infrastructure.

  • Applicants must have (or be able to obtain) perpetual ownership or easement over the project site.

  • Applicants will not use funding to satisfy required obligations due to the MWRD’s Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) or any other local, state, or federal regulations due to a private or public development project. Please note that some projects may require a WMO permit due to its own project disturbance, a new sewer, etc. Please refer to for additional information on permit requirements.

  • The Applicant must be a public entity able to enter into an IGA with the MWRD. Eligible public entities include municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts, and other local government organizations.

    • Projects will be required to meet MWRD’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) requirements, as well as the MWRD’s Veterans Business Enterprise (VBE) goals.

    • Please see the Cost Share Requirements section below for more information on typical IGA requirements.

  • The Applicant must agree to maintain and operate the completed project long term.

  • The Applicant should verify the capability to perform all aspects of the project by each department within their agency or community which will take part in funding, contract administration, maintenance and other requirements of the applicant.

Evaluation Metrics

Projects are selected based on specific metrics the MWRD will evaluate for each project. These metrics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Design Retention Capacity (DRC) – The amount of stormwater (in gallons) that can be captured and infiltrated by a green installation;

  • Benefitted Structures – The number of structures (homes, businesses, etc.) that will experience positive effects on stormwater runoff due to the project. Positive effects on a structure may include a reduction in flooding or drainage issues. Note that auxiliary buildings such as residential garages, sheds, or other uninhabited structures should not be counted;

  • Impervious Area/ Drainage Area – The area in square feet (or acres) that will drain to the proposed GI installation, the square footage of impervious surface removed by the project, and the total area of impervious surfaces that will be converted to permeable surfaces;

  • Sewer Service Area – Combined sewers or separate stormwater and wastewater sewers;

  • Flood Prone Areas – Areas that exhibit documented drainage or flooding issues locally. Includes overland or basement flooding issues;

  • Cost Share Funding – The funding amount requested of the MWRD and the amount of funding an Applicant can provide towards a project. Includes the ability of an Applicant to fund capital improvements and available sources of funding (such as grants);

  • Operations and Maintenance – The Applicant’s ability to maintain the installed GI. Includes previous experience maintaining GI, availability of labor & equipment, and understanding of financial commitment;

  • Public Visibility and Outreach – The ability to promote the project to the community. Considers the visibility of the project, community involvement, and educational outreach to local residents before, during and after construction;

  • Existing MWRD Stormwater Development – The amount MWRD has previously contributed to improving a community’s and/or watershed’s stormwater management, including past year’s GI program partnerships; and

  • Current Project Status – The current status of the project. The categories include: Conceptual, Design, and Shovel Ready.

* The MWRD may also consider whether applicants are in compliance with all MWRD ordinances  (for example; WMO and Inflow & Infiltration Control Program) when prioritizing projects for funding assistance.

Cost Share Funding

MWRD funding for selected projects is in the form of reimbursement of construction related costs only. The amount of funding the MWRD provides to selected projects is based on the effectiveness of the proposed GI, the needs of the community, and availability of funding. Selected applicants are responsible for all remaining costs associated with the project. This includes: engineering, land acquisition, operations, maintenance, and other non-construction related costs.

Additional funding rules and requirements include:

  • Funds may not be used retroactively for projects already under construction.

  • Payment requests are submitted via an IGA Reimbursement Form by the selected applicants at specific construction completion milestones.

  • Supplemental documentation such as a schedule of values indicating work completed, payroll sheets, lien waivers, and proof of payment to vendors and subcontractors (such as cancelled checks) are required for reimbursement.

  • Selected project partners are required to meet minimum affirmative action goals as set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance. These goals shall be met for any portion of the project funded by the MWRD. Please refer to item 4) below, under General Cost Share Requirements, for more detail and for a link to the District’s Affirmative Action Ordinance.

General Green Infrastructure (GI) Cost Share Requirements

IGAs will be drafted specifically for each GI project and the MWRD has several requirements applicable to all projects. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, please be advised that the following requirements will likely be included in every IGA for a GI project:

1)   Selected Applicant Design, Contract Administration, and Construction Administration

The MWRD requires selected applicants to provide project design, contract administration, and construction administration. This includes: preliminary and final design, finalizing bidding documents, bidding and awarding contracts, and construction management.

Selected applicants will also be responsible for:

  • Obtaining all permits required for the construction of the project;

  • Providing the MWRD preliminary and final construction documents to the MWRD for review;

  • Installing signage that promotes green stormwater infrastructure and the MWRD’s funding; and

  • Submitting as-built drawings to the MWRD after construction.

2)   Competitive Bidding

The MWRD requires selected applicants to follow the District’s Purchasing Act, 70 ILCS 2605/11.1 et seq. The Purchasing Act requires projects to be publicly bid and establishes minimum guidelines to ensure the bidding process is conducted fairly. Among other requirements, the Purchasing Act sets minimums for bid advertisement and review periods, contract award criteria, contract bonds, and it also establishes protections against bid fraud or collusion. While a selected applicant can utilize its own processes, the MWRD requires selected applicants to certify that the minimum standards of the District’s Purchasing Act are met.

For more information, refer to the District's Purchasing Act here.

3)   Multi Project Labor Agreement (MPLA) Requirement & Prevailing Wage

The MWRD values tradespeople and union members. For this reason, the MWRD has entered into a MPLA with 20 different labor unions. Selected applicants must ensure any contractors who perform work in any of the covered trades follow the terms of the MPLA for the portion of projects receiving MWRD funding. Finally and as required by state law, selected applicants must also ensure that the Prevailing Wage Act is also followed.

For more information, refer to the MPLA and Labor Relations here.

4)   Affirmative Action

The MWRD requires that the minimum goals set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance are met for the portion of the project funded by the MWRD. Failure to comply with the affirmative action requirements may result in a reduction in the amount the MWRD reimburses. In general, the MWRD’s affirmative action requirements are:

  • 20% Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE)

  • 10% Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE)

  • 10% Small Business Enterprises (SBE)

Beginning in 2019, the MWRD is also implementing a goal of 3% for Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VBE).

Prior to beginning construction, the MWRD requires selected applicants to submit a utilization plan identifying the MBE/WBE/SBE contractors’ participation and certifying their qualifying status.

To help selected applicants stay on track to meet those goals, the MWRD requires affirmative action status reports, lien wavers, and proof of payment (such as cancelled checks) be submitted with their reimbursement requests.

For more information, refer to the MWRD Affirmative Action Ordinance here and the MWRD Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Contracting Policy Requirements here.

5)   Ownership

Selected applicants are required to obtain all property rights necessary to complete a project. The selected applicants will have complete ownership over all improvements made during and after the project. The MWRD will not accept any ownership or property interest in any part of the project or improvements.

6)   Indemnification

Selected applicants will be required to indemnify the MWRD for any and all claims arising from the design, construction, maintenance, operation or ownership of the project and any related GI installation.

7)   Operations & Maintenance

Regular upkeep and maintenance is necessary for GI to function properly and provide the expected stormwater benefit. For that reason, selected applicants are required to provide routine maintenance as dictated by an operations and maintenance (O&M) plan jointly developed and agreed upon by the selected applicant and the MWRD. The O&M plan must establish guidelines for inspecting, reporting, and maintaining the GI installed. Selected applicants will be responsible for all costs associated with operating and maintaining the project in accordance with the O&M plan.

Additional O&M rules and requirements include:

  • The selected applicant is required to perform annual inspections and prepare an inspection report for review by the MWRD. Inspection reports must be reviewed and signed/stamped by a professional engineer licensed by the State of Illinois or by an industry professional approved by the MWRD.

  • The MWRD will be allowed access to the project site to perform its own inspection.

For more information, refer to the sample O&M templates here.

8)   MWRD Composted Biosolids

Since 2015, the MWRD has provided composted biosolids throughout the Chicago area. The compost can be used as a soil amendment or conditioner for establishing native landscaping or for mixing into custom topsoil blends.

To the extent practicable, the selected project partner shall use MWRDGC biosolids in any amendments performed to the soils in the proposed Project area if selected. These biosolids will be made available free of charge and more information will be provided for those selected project partners.

How to Apply

Download and save the application using the following link: Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program Application.

The submission deadline for the application is August 9, 2019 at 5:00PM CDT. Late or partial applications will not be accepted.

Applications and all attachments must be submitted via e-mail, U.S. Mail or other courier service. Electronic submission through E-mail is greatly preferred.

E-mail: Submit applications to Limit email size (including attachments) to 50MB. Submit application in one email only if possible, and include a list of all attachments in that email.  Attach files using a filename that is unique to your project, referencing the organization name and/or project title.

Mail: It is strongly preferred that applications and all attachments be submitted electronically on a CD, DVD, or flash drive. Mailed applications shall be in a sealed envelope titled “GI PARTNERSHIP APPLICATION”

Address for Mailed or Hand Delivered Applications:

Catherine O’Connor
Director of Engineering
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
100 East Erie Street
Chicago, IL 60611-3154

Contact for Questions:

Jim Yurik
Principal Civil Engineer
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Reference Documents

Below are links to all the documents referenced in the above program guidelines: