CHICAGO (CBS) — Local federal and environmental officials on Tuesday heralded the completion of a new south suburban reservoir that will provide major flood protection to the area.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago cut the ribbon Tuesday morning at the Thornton Reservoir, which can hold 7.9 billion gallons of tormwater and sewage. The project has been decades in the making, and is meant to keep floodwaters and sewer overflow at bay in 13 suburbs and on the South Side of Chicago.
The $429 million Thornton Reservoir is a section of the Thornton Quarry, which has been used to mine limestone for nearly two centuries. The MWRD has converted the north lobe of the quarry into a gigantic holding tank, measuring about a square half mile, and more than 30 stories deep. The north lobe of the quarry has been sealed with what MWRD President Mariyana described as miles and miles of grout.
“152 billion pounds of 400-million-year-old dolemite limestone has been removed to create this reservoir. It’s going to hold 7.9 billion gallons of water, benefit 14 communities, and minimize or mitigate $40 million in flooding damage,” she said.