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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of CommissionersCandidate for CommissionerUnexpired 2-year term

Photo of Martin J. Durkan

Martin J. Durkan

Business Representative, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue support for the TARP system and find every means possible to control flooding while giving taxpayers maximum value for their money.
  • Maintain and modernize current infrastructure and equipment to ensure that facilities are operating as efficiently as possible.
  • Maximize efforts to incorporate environmentally friendly ways to return water to the ground whenever possible and eliminate unnecessary burdens on the stormwater system.



Profession:Business Representative, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150
Business Representative, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 - Municipal Division (2013–current)
Hoisting Engineer, City of Chicago - Department of Streets and Sanitation (1990–2013)
Trustee, Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund — Elected position (2010–2013)

Community Activities

Softball Coach, Various travel teams (2006–2014)
Baseball Coach, Niles (2000–2009)
Basketball Coach, Catholic Youth Organization (2000–2008)
Football Coach, Park Ridge (2003–2007)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Sierra Club
  • Cook County Democratic Party

Organizations (7)

  • West Side Elected Officials
  • Personal PAC
  • Chicago Firefighters
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • Citizen Action Illinois
  • 47th Ward Democrats
  • 41st Ward Democrats

Questions & Answers

Questions from Chicago Sun-Times (8)

How would you expand the removal of such nutrients as phosphorus — which harm aquatic life — to all MWRD plants?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

The MWRD should take a leading role amongst all state and national stakeholders to ensure that phosphorus removal is taking place at each stage of the reclamation process to maximize the amount of phosphorus that can be removed. Implementing internal checks at each stage of the process to ensure that we are doing all we can is the first step in maximizing removal of nutrients.

How would you expand public awareness of combined sewer overflow notifications, which are intended in part to alert people recreating in Chicago area waterways?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

The District currently does a good job of providing notifications, but I would support drawing greater attention to the automated notification subscriptions so that residents can be alerted as quickly as possible when an overflow event is likely to occur.

What do you see as the MWRD’s role in controlling litter in our waterways?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

While the MWRD's main functions are to mitigate flooding and to return water to the system as clean as possible, keeping litter out of the water is an important job for the District, as well as all who enjoy Chicago's waterways. The MWRD currently has several boats whose function is to clean litter, and expanding that program while enforcing rules against land lessees who litter will help keep Chicago's waterways cleaner.

The Sun-Times has written about the problem of tenants on MWRD land who release chemical pollutants into the local waterways. Please provide strategies for the best use of MWRD land holdings to meet the district’s statutory duties and advance the district’s goals.
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

We should create policies and procedures to check lessees' backgrounds and continually monitor landholders, maintaining a plan for immediate remediation and removal if contamination is found. Additionally, any land use should support the vision of local communities and the mission of the MWRD.

What is the appropriate role of the MWRD in regional efforts to deal with the problems of storm water management and Asian carp?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

Through the expansion of the TARP plan, the MWRD is the leader in managing storm water and reducing combined sewer overflows. Expanding the use of environmentally friendly technologies will be an important supplement to existing efforts. While the Army Corps of Engineers has taken the lead in the fight against the Asian carp, it is important that the MWRD work in close cooperation with the Corps to ensure that we continue to make progress against invasive species without compromising our critical flood protection functions.

Why would you say is there still significant flooding in the Chicago region, including the south and north suburbs? What should be the MWRD’s role in mitigating flooding?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

With "hundred year storms" seemingly occurring every other year, the challenges facing the region are intensifying. The MWRD's role is to continue to increase capacity of the tunnel and reservoir system while taking steps to keep water out of the system through environmentally friendly practices and technology whenever possible. Last year's opening of the Thornton Reservoir provided relief on the south side, and the opening of the McHenry reservoir should provide additional relief. The MWRD is currently engaged in long-term plans to increase capacity to deal with flooding throughout the region, and reexamining those plans to ensure that they are keeping up with needs is something I am committed to.



Will more steps need to be taken to alleviate North Side flooding after the Albany Park tunnel opens?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

We will have to examine the impact of the new tunnel once it is opened, and if additional steps are needed, the MWRD must examine the most effective, efficient, and economical options to provide additional flood relief. The MWRD has always had an eye to the future, and I will support long-term plans to make sure that we are always providing vital services when and where they are needed.

How would you protect the ducks being sucked into the disinfection facility at the O’Brien Treatment plant?
Answer from Martin J. Durkan:

I wholeheartedly support efforts to ensure that native wildlife is not unnecessarily impacted by the MWRD's efforts, and would work with staff and consultants to examine ways to minimize risk of harm to wildlife while allowing the facilities to function as efficiently as possible.

Videos (1)

Martin J Durkan tells why he should be a commissioner on the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

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