Monthly Archives: June 2015

June 29th, 2015

Summer Institute on Sustainability & Energy – Applications due July 1st

SISE logoUniversity of Illinois at Chicago is hosting the 5th Annual Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy from August 6th through August 18th.  Applications are due July 1st, 2015.

The SISE Program

The Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) is a two-week intensive workshop and lecture series for students and professionals.  From August 6-18, a diverse body of participants will engage a broad spectrum of energy and sustainability-related topics through daily presentations, collaborative projects, mentoring activities, site visits, and networking opportunities with leading research institutions and companies in the digital technology and energy sectors. The issues presented will be of interest to scientists, economists, political scientists, urban planners, engineers, architects, and entrepreneurs.

2015 Theme: Digital Rebirth

SISE will 1) explore the crossroads of digital manufacturing, smart cities, and energy; 2) dive deep into specific applications such as smart grid and the connected vehicle; and 3) theorize how these innovations can usher in a more sustainable future. Topics will revolve around integration; sourcing and use of supply; reduction of waste; energy and resource demands; big data collection and use; anticipation, reaction, and adaptation to the unexpected; and sensors, connectivity, and cybersecurity.

Applications and more information on the program can be found at: sise.uic.edu

June 17th, 2015

Free rain barrels available from MWRD

MWRD is offering free 55-gallon rain barrels to homeowners in the following participating municipalities:

  • Village of Alsip
  • Village of Bellwood
  • City of Berwynrain barrel
  • City of Blue Island
  • City of Calumet City
  • Village of Chicago Ridge
  • Village of Crestwood
  • Village of Forest View
  • Village of LaGrange Park
  • Village of Midlothian
  • Village of Oak Park
  • Village of Richton Park
  • Village of Riverside
  • Village of Stickney
  • Village of Stone Park
  • Village of Wilmette

Cook County homeowners who do not live in one of these communities can purchase a discounted rain barrel for only $58 (plus tax).

Visit the MWRD’s rain barrel website for more information about their program.

This video from the U.S. EPA explains some of the benefits of rain barrels:



June 11th, 2015

Decoding old Chicago street names during Phase I Environmental Site Assessment research

Map Showing the New House Numbering System in the City of Chicago, 1910 (courtesy of chicagology.com)

Map Showing the New House Numbering System in the City of Chicago, 1910 (courtesy of Chicago Public Library via chicagology.com)

When conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessment research, Gabriel reviews old building permits, Sanborn fire insurance maps, and other historical sources. Sometimes reviewing this information can get confusing when the streets in question no longer have the same names.

Chicago’s city street addresses didn’t become standardized until 1908.  Even after that time, many streets were renamed to honor individuals or end lingering confusion stemming from pre-1908 street names (generally to eliminate duplicate street names).

For example, a building permit from the 1930s on “Garfield Avenue” would be pertinent to Phase I research for a property located on today’s “Dickens Street.”  We’d have to review maps listing “Robey Street” when researching sites located along “Damen Avenue.”

Information about streets with the same name require additional scrutiny by our researchers:  Lincoln Street and Lincoln Avenue;  Clybourn Place and Clybourn Avenue; Washington Street, Washington Avenue, and Washington Boulevard; and Park Avenue and South Park Avenue,  just to name a few.More information on these Chicago street name changes can be found on a Chicago Now blog and Chicagology.com.

June 4th, 2015

Illinois rivers and Lake Michigan get additional protection from Clean Water Rule

U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have finalized the Clean Water Rule to clarify sections of the Clean Water Act.  This Clean Water Rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand.

In Illinois, 56% of the state’s streams, wetlands, and rivers, including those feeding Lake Michigan, are impacted by this Rule.

“Lake Michigan – where we swim, fish, and go boating – can only be clean if we protect the streams that feed them,” said Ally Fields, Clean Water Advocate for Environment Illinois. “That’s why today’s action is the biggest victory for clean water in a decade.”

clean water rule

Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 had made regulations that impacted certain waterways confusing and unnecessarily complex.  For over a decade, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers received requests for a rulemaking to provide clarity on protections under the Clean Water Act from members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, scientists, and the public. In developing the rule, the Agencies held hundreds of meetings with stakeholders across the country, reviewed over one million public comments, and listened to perspectives from all sides.

For more information on this new Rule, visit the EPA’s Clean Water Rule webpage.

For more information on how this new Rule affects Illinois, visit Environment Illinois’s webpage.