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New law expands toolbox for addressing flooding concerns

Gives Metropolitan Water Reclamation District additional options on local projects

mwrd-150x150SPRINGFIELD — Cook County flooding legislation sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) became law today, giving the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District greater flexibility to address local problems. The MWRD, which operates in suburban Cook County, administers regional stormwater projects along major waterways; the district is now authorized to work on localized flooding problems and even purchase and remediate flood-prone properties in cooperation with their current owners.

"Flooding and related damage are on the rise in Cook County, and the MWRD's capabilities must keep pace with the problem," Biss said. "This law is now on the books because of the perseverance of some of my constituents who came to me seeking a better way for government to intervene on behalf of property owners when floodwaters threaten."

Current law allows the MWRD to use suburban Cook County's stormwater management levy for regional stormwater facilities. The new law, which was introduced as House Bill 3912, allows this revenue to be utilized for local stormwater projects, including voluntary buy-outs of properties whose flooding issues cannot be resolved except through returning the land to an open, permeable state.

The measure takes effect immediately.

Senator Daniel Biss

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9th Senate District

Years served: 2011 - 2012 (House); 2013 - 2018 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Human Services; Labor (Chairperson); Revenue.

Biography: Full-time legislator; former University of Chicago math professor; doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Served one term in the House before his election to the Senate. Resides in Evanston with his wife, Karin, and their children, Elliot and Theodore. Co-chair of a bipartisan pensions working group in the House and chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee.