The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the entity responsible for our sewers and rivers in Chicago, warns that the record-breaking warm-up currently underway could overwhelm the system:
As the warmer temperatures melt existing snow, the potential for flooding increases because the frozen ground is unable to absorb water and snow, causing runoff to flow immediately into sewers.
Sewer systems, therefore, can become overwhelmed from the combination of normal sewage flow, rain and snow melt, a scenario that often leads to flooding, according to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
MWRD said Friday that it’s preparing for potential flooding by lowering water levels in Chicago-area waterways to make room for runoff. The agency will also rely on its network of tunnels and reservoirs, which it said are ready to hold more than 11 billion gallons of water.
The agency is also asking Chicago-area municipalities and the public to help prevent flooding by reducing water use, such as by postponing high-water consumption activities like bathing, showering, running the dishwasher and washing clothes.
Well, that stinks. Or rather, we will stink. And let's not even think about what a Δ42.8°C warm-up will do to our roads.