Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Project Cost


Market Sector

Local Government


Water Resources

Melvina Ditch Reservoir Expansion

Burbank, Illinois

  • V3 was selected by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to perform drainage remediation alternatives analysis, preliminary and final engineering design and preparation of construction documents for this highly-impacted area of Bedford Park, Burbank and Oak Lawn.
  • These communities, totaling an eight-square-mile watershed, had received severe flooding for three consecutive years which caused structural flooding of many residents and businesses. The August 22, 2014 storm event produced 3.6 inches of rain within 40 minutes in this watershed.  The Melvina Ditch Reservoir was overtopped and up to five feet of ponding depth occurred in some of the hardest impacted areas.
  • V3 provided creative engineering and technology solutions to reduce the problems, including vertical expansion of the Melvina Ditch Reservoir by digging an additional 10 feet of depth and retrofitting the existing pump station, which minimized the footprint of horizontal expansion and created cost effective storage solutions in this urbanized community that has limited open space.
  • The watershed modeling was completed in XP-SWMM to evaluate the complex flow between surface conveyance throughout the streets and sub-surface flow through the large diameter storm sewers (up to 10-feet). The model also represented the Bedford Park Reservoir, which is controlled by an automated sluice gate, and Melvina Ditch Reservoir which is controlled by five pumps. This complex modeling allowed V3 to evaluate timing differences through the watershed and also between the two existing reservoirs to fully evaluate the opportunities and constraints of the system.
  • V3 identified pump inefficiencies during peak storm events. The lift station experienced power failure in recent storms, which could potentially be due to these pump inefficiencies and the power draw required to run at peak rates. V3 recommended constructing an emergency overflow spillway with a capacity equal to the pump capacity, to allow discharge from the reservoir during power failures. Pump improvements were also recommended to reduce the inefficiencies.