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Evanston Stormwater Management 101

November 18th, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


A Virtual Presentation by Richard Lanyon, November 18, 2021, 7 p.m. Admission: Free

Registration Required:

Join us for a virtual presentation by Richard Lanyon, former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and author of several books documenting the engineered drainage system in metropolitan Chicago and history of the engineered MWRD infrastructure.

Up until this century, Evanston had serious and widespread flooding problems. With implementation of the 1990 Long Range Sewer Improvement Program, beginning in 1992 and completed in 2008, flooding problems have almost disappeared. Global warming may change that. Already, we appear to be experiencing more intense storm episodes. The 2018 Evanston Climate Action and Resilience Plan recommends the preparation of a comprehensive stormwater management plan to address current and future flooding problems.

Mr. Lanyon will describe the history of drainage and flooding problems; development of the 1990 Long Range Sewer Improvement Program; the combined, relief and storm sewer systems; and current stormwater management planning. The presentation includes maps, photographs, bullet point summaries, and sewer infrastructure schematics. In addition to Evanston sewer infrastructure, the presentation includes the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s deep tunnel project as it benefits Evanston. Current stormwater planning began in April 2020, with completion expected by April 2022. This plan will identify locations in the city where flooding may occur due to insufficient sewer infrastructure capacity. The plan will also forecast future flooding problems that may occur as climate change causes more frequent and intense storms to occur.

Richard Lanyon, known as Dick, retired from his position as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) at the close of 2010, a position that he held for 4½ years. As Executive Director, he directed the day-to-day operations of the MWRD, which included 2,100 employees serving five million people in Cook County and the industrial waste load equivalent of another four million people. The MWRD provides wastewater and stormwater management and other related services to protect the environment. Dick’s career at the MWRD spanned nearly 48 years.

In 2012, Dick published Building the Canal to Save Chicago, a historical documentary of the first project of the MWRD that enabled the reversal of flow in the Chicago River to protect Lake Michigan. In May 2016 his second book, Draining Chicago: The Early Years and the North Area, was published. West by Southwest to Stickney, Draining the Central Area of Chicago and Exorcising Clout was published in April 2018. Calumet: First and Forever: Draining the South Area of Chicago and Territorial Expansion was published in September 2020. All four completely describe the engineered drainage system in metropolitan Chicago and history of the engineered MWRD infrastructure.

Dick has received numerous awards including the American Society of Civil Engineer’s National Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award in 1999; Distinguished Alumnus of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2003; Edward J. Cleary Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists in 2011; and Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) in 2011. He is also a past President of the Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and holds Bachelor and Master of Civil Engineering degrees from the UIUC. In 2013, Dick was inducted into the NACWA Hall of Fame.

He has been involved in a variety of technical activities for the above and other organizations, and he has served in several leadership roles on environmental protection and water resource management matters for federal, state and local agencies and organizations. He also served on the Evanston Public Library Board of Directors, was alderman of the 8th Ward on the Evanston City Council and recently completed an eight-year term as chairman of the Evanston Utilities Commission. He and his wife Marsha reside in Evanston, and he continues to be an advocate for sensible and sustainable water management in the urban environment.

Registration Required:


November 18th, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Evanston History Center
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