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November 8, 2016 — Illinois Elección General

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of CommissionersCandidato para CommissionerFull 6-year term

Photo de Barbara McGowan

Barbara McGowan

Commissioner/Vice President - Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Do all that is within our Illinois Statutory and budgetary powers to address and elevate the problem of flooding for the citizens of Cook County.
  • The top priority for is to continue our efforts to fund and complete the entire TARP Program which includes the completion of all phases of the McCook Reservoirs to elevate flooding for the citizens of Cook County.
  • A priority as a Commissioner was to bring two disinfection facilities in service at our Calumet and O’Brien WRP. The Calumet WRP provides chlorination/de-chlorination and the O’Brien WRP is ready to operate an ultraviolet disinfection process.



John Marshall High School Graduate of John Marshall High School; some college (current)


COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN realized that to make policy statements that have a positive impact upon her Community, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois she would have to actively participate in the electoral process.


COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN worked on several local and national political campaigns including President Barack Obama, President William Clinton; Vice President Al Gore, the late President John Stroger; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Neil Hartigan Campaign for Governor; Governor Pat Quinn; the late Mayor Harold Washington; Mayoral and Water Reclamation District campaigns of the late Joseph E. Gardner; retired Mayor Richard M. Daley; Secretary of State Jesse White; Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore;  the late Congresswoman Cardiss Collins; Congressman Danny Davis; Congressman Bobby Rush; Alderman Isaac “Ike” Carothers; Alderman Deborah Graham, Alderman Carrie Austin, Alderman Michael Chandler, Alderman Emma Mitts, Alderman Howard Brookins; Alderman Dorothy Tillman,  Alderman Ed Smith; Alderman Percy Giles;  and the late State Central Committeewoman Cora McGruder.


COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN is a member of the IVI-IPO, the Westside NAACP, West Minister Coalition and the 29th Ward Democratic Organization. She was elected Delegate to the 1996 & 2000 Democratic Convention.  She also served as the Office Manager of the late Mayor Harold Washington’s Political Education Project (PEP).


COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN was elected Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in November of 1998, 2004 and 2010.  In January, 2011, 2013 and 2015 she was unanimously voted Vice President of the Board of Commissioners.  In November, 2012 through January 3, 2013, and December, 2014 through January 8, 2015, she served as Acting President of the Board of Commissioners.


COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN has been recognized for her exemplary support and commitment to the minority, women, and small business community and has been honored and received numerous awards including:  Cook County Democratic Women HERO Award; Austin Chamber of Commerce Better Business Award; Chicago Park District Teen Leadership Outstanding Volunteer Award; the 2005 & 2009 Westside Ministers Coalition Outstanding Service in the Community Award;  the 2006 Public Service Award by the Federation of Women Contractors; the 2007 Public Services Award by the African-American Contractors Association; the 2009 Public Service Award presented by the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for United Community Force Affirmative Action Advocate of the Year Graduate Award; the 2012 Suburban Minority Contractors Millennium Builders Award;  the 2012 Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. President’s Award; and October, 2013 inducted into the John Marshall High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame; Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County 2015 Women History Month Celebration Award, the 2015 Chicago Defender Newspaper Women of Excellence Award and the Austin Voice Newspaper Walmart Community Builder’s Award for Outstanding Public Service.



COMMISSIONER MCGOWAN and her late husband John, have two children and three grandchildren.  

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Featured Endorsements

  • Cook County Democratic Party

Preguntas y Respuestas

Preguntas de Chicago Sun-Times (8)

How would you expand the removal of such nutrients as phosphorus — which harm aquatic life — to all MWRD plants?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The MWRD will be removing phosphorous with cutting edge technology at six of our seven plants.  A major portion of our capital program is devoted to this important issue at this time.  Currently we are moving forward on biological phosphorous removal.  We are also working on algae removal efforts that will reduct phosphorous and nitrogen, another important nutrient to remove.  At thesame time we are removing carbon from the air.


How would you expand public awareness of combined sewer overflow notifications, which are intended in part to alert people recreating in Chicago area waterways?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The MWRD plays a leading role in reducing CSOs.  TARP is significantly larger than any other public works project pertaining to CSOs and is a model throughout the world.  Last year, representatives from London and Singapore came to tour our TARP as a model to address CSOs in their cities.  Tarp was envisioned by the MWRD in 1968, four years before the USEPA even existed.  The MWRD recognized then, as it does now, the need to clean up rivers and reduce CSOs.  We continue to press on to complete that project.  It's an exceptional project and has already removed pollution from out waterways.  When completed TARP will eliminate CSOs in most rain events.


We provide real time access to anyone who wants to be notified about CSOs via email or text.  They can visit our website to see which portions of the river system are impacted.  We can always do more but I believe we have one of the best programs in the Great Lakes Region.

What do you see as the MWRD’s role in controlling litter in our waterways?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The District's skimmer and debris boats are always monitoring the waterways to remove garbage. We must all work together in a cooperative manner to prevent trash from entering the waterways. The District has an entire region to monitor so we can not do this alone.

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.
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The MWRD's real estate program has a strong commitment to the environmental integrity of land.  Contracts require that certain environmental conditions be met with periodic environmental assessments to ensure tenants are being responsible in taking care of the land and waterways.  We want environmentally responsible tenants that deliver value for the residents in communities.  Whether that's an environmenrally responsible industry or whether we've proving a park for outdoor access, we have a strong commitment to the environment to ensure that land remains sound.

What is the appropriate role of the MWRD in regional efforts to deal with the problems of storm water management and Asian carp?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The Board directed our Executive Director to take a leadership role in looking for answers and solutions to this issue to protect the waterways against native species while at the same time providing flood protection for the residents of Cook County and protecting water quality.  These three factors must be addressed within any plan.

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?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

Flooding is the number one issue facing Cook County residents, and TARP is a cornerstone of our efforts to mitigate flooding and improve water quality.  The MWRD recentlyl added 7.9 billion gallons at the Thornton Reservoir and will add 3.5 billion gallons more in capacity in 2017 at the McCook Reservoir.  However, in our fight against flooding, this isn't enough.  We're working on green infrastructure initiatives and putting in systems that can prevent localized flooding in 125 communities.

Will more steps need to be taken to alleviate North Side flooding after the Albany Park tunnel opens?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

The City of Chicago is the lead for managing stormwater throughout the city, so any questions about future plans for the Albany Park area should be directed to the city.

How would you protect the ducks being sucked into the disinfection facility at the O’Brien Treatment plant?
Respuesta de Barbara McGowan:

This isn’t a common occurrence but the District is investigating different engineering solutions to resolve this issue.

Videos (1)

Barbara McGowan tells why she should be a commissioner on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board.

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