Storm Water Management

What is storm water?
Storm water is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. The water seeps into the ground or drains into what storm sewers. These are the drains you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of your streets. Collectively, the draining water is called storm water runoff and is a concern to us in commercial and industrial sites as well as your neighborhood because of the pollutants it carries.

Where does the storm water go?
Storm water that does not evaporate or seep into the ground drains into over 49 miles of underground storm sewer pipe that carry surface runoff to the Chicago River. Every time it rains, thousands of gallons of storm water enters our storm sewer system. As the runoff flows across lawns, driveways, parking lots and streets, it collects pollutants.

What is storm water pollution?
Many people think that pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes only comes from industrial facilities or wastewater treatment plants. However, if all these sources of pollution were eliminated, up to half of the pollution would still remain.

The remaining source of pollution that is not caused by specific, identifiable sources are called non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollution is the result of everyday activities. Typical pollutants in urban areas include litter; sediments from exposed soil, pet waste, detergents, pesticides and fertilizers from lawns and gardens, paints, oil, grease and toxic chemicals from motor vehicles, road salts, and household hazardous wastes.

When these materials are improperly used or disposed of, they can be picked up by storm water runoff as it flows across streets, parking lots and lawns. After this storm water runoff travels through the storm sewer system, it is discharged to receiving waters without any treatment. As a result, any pollutant that is dumped on the ground can end up in our creeks, rivers and lakes.

There are serious problems associated with polluted storm water. The pesticides, bacteria and chemicals that may be present in polluted storm water can pose a health risk to people. Aquatic plants and animals living in streams and rivers may become sick or die from contact with polluted storm water. Clogged catch basins can be unsightly and can cause flooding problems.

Since storm water is naturally channeled to or flows through underground pipes to the Chicago River there is no opportunity for treatment to remove pollution. So, each of us must be careful to minimize or eliminate substances which may inadvertently pollute our waterways when it rains.
Stop Storm Water Pollution
1. Properly dispose of used auto fluids, used batteries and household hazardous waste at specific drop-off or recycling locations. Never pour used motor oil or other hazardous materials into a storm drain. Contact the Solid Waste Management Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) for more information on recycling and disposal at (847) 296-9205 or at
2. Properly manage and dispose of yard wastes (grass clippings, leaves, etc.) and don’t put them in the street, gutter or storm drain.  Contact the Public Works Department for more information on the annual leaf pickup program offered by the Village at (847) 470-5235
3. Don’t put trash into the street or gutter where it can be washed into the storm sewer system.
4. Use lawn and garden fertilizers sparingly, and learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using pesticides herbicides or fertilizers on your lawn or garden.
5. Use water-based paints such as latex and wash paintbrushes in the sink with water.  When using paint thinner, reuse and recycle it. Never pour unused paint or paint thinner into a storm drain.
6. Sweep your driveway instead of spraying it down with water. This will reduce dirt and silt residue from entering the storm drains.
7. Take your car to the car wash or wash it on the lawn instead of washing it in the driveway. The runoff from home car washing can contain detergents that are harmful to aquatic life.

8. Educate your family, friends and neighbors about storm water pollution.
9. Report polluters. If you see a potential storm water quality problem, please call the Village of Morton Grove Public Works Department at (847) 470-5235.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)
What is a combined sewer overflow (CSO)?A CSO is a discharge from a combined sewer system directly into a waterway.  A combined sewer system is designed to collect a mixture of rainfall runoff, domestic and industrial wastewater in the same pipe for conveyance to a wastewater treatment plant.  The wastewater treatment plant for this area is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDCG).

The Chicago River has 37 CSO locations throughout the north suburbs running down to the city of Chicago. The MWRDCG has implemented a Combined Sewer Overflow Public Notification Plan to inform the affected public to include governmental organizations, civic groups, recreational groups or any public citizen of the occurrences of CSO on the Chicago area waterway system.  The MWRDCG web site for CSO occurrences and further information can be reached at Human Health Impacts of CSOs and SSOs.



Village of
Morton Grove
Stormwater Management Program

The Village of Morton Grove storm water management program was established in 2003 in response to the U.S. EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II rule. A key objective of this regulation is the control and reduction of storm water pollution in urban areas.

In accordance with the NPDES Phase II regulations, the Village of Morton Grove has developed a storm water quality management plan that is based on a set of best management practices (BMPs) in six different categories:

1. Public Education And Involvement
2. Public Participation
3. Illicit Discharge Detection And Elimination
4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
5. Post-Construction Storm Water Management
6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

The Village of Morton Grove is required to post its NPDES permit, its Notice of Intent, and its annual reports for the last 5 years.

For questions regarding the Village of Morton Grove storm water program, or to report a storm water problem, contact the Public Works Department at (847) 470-5235 or by e-mail at


Please report any illegal dumping or suspicious discharges to:
Morton Grove Public Works Department
Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 3:15 pm
Telephone Number (847) 470-5235
e-mail address

After 3:15 pm Morton Grove Police, Non Emergency (847) 470-5208

For additional information regarding stormwater management please visit these Web sites:

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Friends of The Morton Grove Forest Preserve

How to Reduce Stormwater Runoff at Your Home

North Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District