A Cleaner Des Plaines River in Lake County, IL DRWW Fact Sheet
Lakes and streams within the Des Plaines River watershed have been identified by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) as impaired for phosphorus, fecal coliform, chloride and other pollutants. The pollutants are a result of point and nonpoint source pollution, entering rivers and streams through pipes and by sheetflow, after flowing across the landscape. These rivers and streams do not meet Illinois EPA’s designated uses of aquatic life, primary contact recreation, and fish consumption. Illinois EPA’s goal is to improve water quality so that waterbodies can be removed from the impaired list.
In lieu of imposing costly upgrades to publically owned treatment works’ (POTWs) and more stringent permit limits to communities’ National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Illinois EPA is allowing for the formation of a local workgroup, to take these issues of water quality impairment on at a local level. This model is being successfully implemented in areas across the state (the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup, for example).
In response, POTWs and communities within the Des Plaines River watershed in Lake County have initiated efforts to form a workgroup: a voluntary, dues paying, membership organization that would monitor water quality and strategize to improve water quality based on scientific data, making decisions at the local level. Membership would consist of POTWs, municipal separate storm sewer permittees (MS4s), environmental groups, consultants, concerned citizens. The Workgroup, the Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup (DRWW), would meet quarterly, be governed by a set of bylaws and an elected executive board, and provide many benefits to the general membership including:
- Water quality improvements
- Local decision making
- Cost savings
- NPDES permit compliance: shared monitoring effort, education and outreach materials
- Continuing education credits to maintain professional certifications
For more information, please contact Beth Adler at email@example.com – (847)377-7702.