Legislation State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) sponsored to give the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District greater flexibility to address local flooding has cleared both chambers of the General Assembly.

The MWRD, which operates in Cook County outside of Chicago, currently administers stormwater projects along major waterways; Biss’ proposal would empower the district to work on more localized flooding problems.

“Residents of the North Shore know too well how devastating and destructive these floods can be, and we’re eager to find ways to mitigate the damage,” Biss said in a statement.

“Flood water doesn’t recognize municipal boundaries, so it makes sense to give MWRD a larger toolbox for addressing serious but localized flooding issues. In sponsoring this legislation,” Biss said, “I’m aiming to address one of the most pressing concerns of my constituents.”

Current law allows the MWRD to use suburban Cook County’s stormwater management levy for regional stormwater facilities.

Senate Bill 3912 would allow 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 bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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