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Water Management

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The Department of Water Management is responsible for delivering nearly 1 billion gallons of fresh pure water to the residents of Chicago and 125 suburban communities every day. We are also responsible for removing the waste water and storm runoff from the streets of Chicago through the sewer system, and delivering the effluent for treatment to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. All of this is accomplished through a network of purification plants, tunnels, pumping stations, water mains, sewer mains, valves and structures that require constant upkeep and maintenance.

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Cold Weather and Your Water System 

When the temperatures get this cold, people should run a trickle of water in their homes to keep water moving, which prevents frozen pipes. It’s best to run the very slow flow of water from the uppermost and rearmost faucet in the building so the entire system is engaged. 

Additional precautions can be taken to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Wrap pipes exposed to frigid air in blankets.
  • Open doors to attached garages and unheated basements to allow warmer air from the home to circulate.
  • Check basements and garages for broken windows or other gaps which might admit cold air. 

If residents lose water service due to frozen pipes, they should never use an open flame to thaw the pipes, as frozen pipes may be close to gas lines or other hazards. Instead, use a heating pad or hair dryer to gradually thaw a frozen pipe.

Call 3-1-1 in the following circumstances:

  • If you lose water because of a frozen water service (DWM does not thaw frozen pipes inside a residence).
  • If you see a leak in from a broken main or service pipe. Fluctuations can put stress on old, cast iron pipes; these leaks should be investigated promptly so their repair can be prioritized.
  • If you have any concerns about safety.




Not-For Profit Water Conservation Plans

Learn what steps your NFP can take to qualify and or maintain you exemption status on your water bill in Chicago.


Most Recent News (Water Management)

Apr 8, 2015 Water Main Replacement Work to Close Intersection of Western and Addison This Weekend
Mar 17, 2015 Mayor Emanuel Announces Nearly 125 Additional Miles of Street Repaving
Feb 23, 2015 Water Main Replacement Work to Reduce Traffic Lanes on Western Avenue Between Addison and Roscoe
Jan 31, 2014 Mayor Emanuel, Department of Water Management Announce MeterSave Program Exceeds 2013 Goals
Jan 27, 2014 Chicago Department of Water Management Urges Residents to Take Precautions to Avoid Frozen Pipes

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Department Main Office

Water Management

  • Phone: 312.744.4420 or 312.744.4h2O
    Toll Free:
    Fax: 312.744.7119
  • 333 S. State Street
    Chicago, IL 60604   
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Link to the Meter Save web site2013 Water Quality ReportDo you have a question, concern or a request? Send us an email from this link