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Gabriel Environment Blog

November 22nd, 2017

Gabriel is closed for Thanksgiving

Gabriel is closed Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We wish you all happy Thanksgiving!

November 10th, 2017

Snow comes early to Chicago this year

A bit too early in the season for some of us at Gabriel’s headquarters, but it’s definitely snowing in Chicago today:

October 19th, 2017

Tour of MWRD’s McCook Reservoir

Gabriel was excited to tour the almost-ready-to-be-opened McCook Reservoir, near MWRD’s Mainstream Pumping Station.  When this reservoir goes online around Thanksgiving, it will hold 3.5 billion gallons of stormwater to help prevent flooding, improve water quality in Chicago area waterways, and protect Lake Michigan from pollution.  Phase II of the McCook reservoir isn’t scheduled to be completed for another 10-12 years, but it will eventually add another 6.5 billion gallons of capacity.

 

MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) has been process since the initial tunnel construction started in 1975.  The four TARP tunnel systems are designed to flow to three huge reservoirs, and the system will have a total capacity of 20.55 billion gallons when complete. The stored water is then pumped from the reservoirs to water reclamation plants to be cleaned before being released to waterways.

Learn more about how TARP works on the MWRD website.

 

Stage 1 of McCook Reservoir: the white masts are 150 feet high and will hold aerators to reduce odors

The blocks on the floor of the reservoir will help prevent erosion from the inflow of stormwater

This ramp will stay in place once the reservoir goes online so MWRD can do routine maintenance and cleaning of the reservoir floor. The walls are all surrounded by a ‘grout curtain’ to keep stormwater in and groundwater out.

Stage 2 of McCook Reservoir – still being mined for dolomite limestone.

Stage 2 of McCook Reservoir – some of the mining equipment ready to work.

MWRD’s photo booth

MWRD’s photo booth

MWRD’s photo booth

 

MWRD’s photo booth

 

MWRD’s photo booth

September 13th, 2017

Astronomers Without Borders – Donation Site

Gabriel is pleased to be an official ‘Astronomers Without Borders‘ (AWB) donation site for used solar glasses.

The donated glasses will be sent to schools and other institutions in South America and southeastern Asia for the next eclipse in 2019.

AWB will examine all of the donated glasses to make sure they are ISO-certified and aren’t damaged.

Donations can be dropped off at our reception desk from 8:00am – 5:30pm.  After-hours and weekend donations can be dropped off in the collection box by our side door in our parking lot.

Gabriel is located just north of downtown Chicago between North Avenue and Division Street, off the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94).

1421 N. Elston Ave.

Chicago, IL 60642

 

August 21st, 2017

Solar eclipse

Gabriel’s staff put on their ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses and enjoyed our viewing today (despite the clouds at peak eclipse time).

 

 

August 2nd, 2017

MWRD Offering Limited-Time Tours of Mainstream Pumping Station and McCook Reservoir

For a limited time, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is offering free tours of its Mainstream Pumping Station and McCook Reservoir this summer and fall.  The tours will give visitors a complete overview of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) system and how it functions to improve local water quality and mitigate flooding throughout Cook County.

McCook Reservoir is scheduled to be completed in late 2017.  It will be the last and largest of three reservoirs being constructed as part of TARP.

Tours are offered:
  • August 6
  • August 27
  • September 17
  • September 24
  • October 1
  • October 15
All tours start at 9am and are expected to last 2 hours.  All ages are welcome.  Wear sturdy shoes and note that shorts, dresses, sandals, and high heels are not allowed.

Tours will include a tour of the pumping station, followed by a bus ride to McCook Reservoir overlook.

MWRD will also offer free tree saplings, compost, photo booth and TARP rock at these events.

Parking is free at the Mainstream Pumping Station (6100 River Road, Hodgkins, IL).

Call 312-751-6632 to reserve your space on one of these tours.  All attendees must RSVP.

More information can be found on MWRD’s Facebook page.

April 26th, 2017

IEPA Website Causes UST Fund Deductible Confusion

IMG_0260
Underground Storage Tank (UST) owners may be confused by the Illinois EPA’s (IEPA’s) website, which hasn’t been updated with current information regarding the UST Fund deductible.

In June 2010, IEPA lowered the deductible for all new eligible Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Incidents to $5,000. Prior to that change, deductibles range from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of tanks and date of registration.

The Illinois EPA’s online UST Fund Guide correctly lists these deductibles, but the new $5,000 deductible for all LUST Incidents after June 2010 is hidden on a different fact page that is difficult to find on the new IEPA website (Leaking USTS – Publications & Regs – Public Act 096-0908 – Fact Sheet 3).

$5,000 Deductible Applies to All Incidents
Declared After June 8, 2010

The confusion about eligibility and high deductibles for some sites deterred many tank owners from cleaning up their LUST Incident and obtaining a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter from IEPA.  As a result, Illinois streamlined their deductible qualifications and reduced it to a more manageable $5,000.This change states that no matter what date an eligible petroleum tank was registered, any LUST Incidents declared after June 8, 2010 are subject to a $5,000 deductible.

Eligible tanks include releases of:

  • Fuel as defined in Section 1.19 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law
  • Aviation Fuel
  • Heating oil
  • Kerosene
  • Used oil that has been refined from crude oil used in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 1.3 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law.
Other eligibility requirements do apply, as outlined on the EPA’s Tank Fund Guide website. For example, any tanks out of service prior to January 1, 1974 or residential heating oil tanks are not eligible for the Fund.

The UST Fund is available to help owners and operators clean up spills related to leaking tanks. It is funded by these same owner/operators as a per-gallon tax on all petroleum products purchased.
For more information about how to close a LUST Incident and access the UST Fund, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-486-2123 or nvalenta[at]gabenv.com.
April 12th, 2017

Enjoy MWRD’s Open House – May 20, 2017

As part of their ‘Infrastructure Week,’ Metropolitan Water ReclamationMWRD color District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is opening up six of its water reclamation plants (WRP) for free open houses and tours on May 20, 2017.

Visitors can tour any of the following plants:

  • Calumet WRP, 400 E. 130th St., Chicago
  • Egan WRP, 550 S. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg
  • Hanover Park WRP, 1220 Sycamore Av., Hanover Park
  • Kirie WRP, 701 Oakton St., Des Plaines
  • O’Brien WRP, 3500 Howard St., Skokie
  • Stickney WRP, 6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero

MWRD will also be giving away free trees and compost, while supplies last. All ages welcome. No open-toed shoes.

More information can be found on MWRD’s Facebook page.

March 29th, 2017

New Chicago Water Tax In Effect in 2017

Chicago’s new water tax is city of chicago sealofficially in effect. Starting with the March 2017 bill, all residents and businesses in Chicago will see a new water-sewer tax charge on their monthly utility bill.

Chicago’s water-sewer taxes approved
for the next 4 years:

  • 2017: $0.59/1000 gallons
  • 2018: $1.28/1000 gallons
  • 2019: $2.01/1000 gallons
  • 2020: $2.51/1000 gallons

This tax is in addition to the water/sewer fees that Chicagoans
already pay and is expected to help pay for part of Chicago’s
pension debt.

EPA’s WaterSense website lists some easy ways to reduce water usage:

  • Replace older toilets with a WaterSense labeled toilet:
    WaterSense toilets use only 1.28 gallons per flush or
    less. Standard toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. Older
    toilets can use as much as 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush.
  • Replace showerheads with WaterSense labeled models:
    WaterSense showerheads use 2.0 gallons of water per
    minute or less. Standard faucets use 2.5 gallons of
    water or more.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving:
    A bathroom faucet generally runs at 2 gallons per
    minute. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or
    shaving can save a person more than 200 gallons per
    month.
  • Replace older washing machines with a high-efficiency model:
    High-efficiency washing machines use less than 27
    gallons per load. Standard models can use up to 54
    gallons per load.

Gabriel can also help commercial and industrial facilities assess their water usage to determine if any water savings may be achieved. Contact our Water Department at 773-486-2123 or water[at]gabenv.com to discuss Gabriel’s water saving audits.

More information about the water tax can be found on the City of Chicago’s Finance webpage.

March 22nd, 2017

Visit the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

chicago flower and garden show logo

There’s still a few days to enjoy the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier. From March 18th – 26th, enjoy life-sized gardens, how-to workshops, and instructional seminars at this annual event.

This year’s show features:
  • 20 Feature Gardens
  • Garden Gourmet Cooking and Gardening Live Presentations
  • Potting Parties and Planting Fun
  • Kids Activity Garden
  • CARBA Cake Decorating Competition
  • Home & Garden Marketplace
The 2017 theme “Chicago’s Blooming” will spotlight all that is wonderful about Chicago’s unique neighborhoods and urban green spaces.
Visit chicagoflower.com to learn more about the seminar schedule, garden sponsors, and vendors.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door.