In August, 2016, the Cities of Crest Hill, Joliet, Lockport and Villages of Channahon and Romeoville began discussions with stormwater, wastewater and industrial agencies to determine levels of interest and benefits to forming a watershed group. Current and future NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination) permit requirements, enforced through Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL EPA), include additional requirements and more stringent nutrient controls for stormwater, wastewater and industrial dischargers. Stakeholders quickly determined that a comprehensive monitoring program throughout the Lower Des Plaines Watershed would not help only establish baseline conditions, but also, with regression analysis, identify which pollutants have the biggest impact on aquatic communities.
We passed BYLAWS and incorporated on February 28, 2017. In addition to providing a unified, local approach to meeting permit conditions, the LDWG’s objectives include:
- Develop and implement a dynamic plan that seeks to achieve attainment of water quality standards and designated uses for the Lower Des Plaines River and its tributaries.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive, long-term monitoring program that will advance stream resource quality, as defined by chemical, physical and biological components, by accurately identifying the quality of the river ecosystems and the stressors associated with non-attainment of water quality standards and designated uses.
The data and analyses will position stakeholders to make informed decisions and recommendations to implement cost-effective management strategies to improve local waterways and meet permit requirements.