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Amid Heavy Rains, Organization Urges Limiting Water Use

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Flooding of streets and some basements continues in some parts of the Chicago area Wednesday, following recent rains and melting snow. Now, a conservation group suggests there's a way to help keep from taxing our sewer system.

Friends of the Chicago River said the past few days have been "overflow action days," when conserving water would mean less water going into sewers and less need for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to release raw sewage into the Chicago River systems.

The MWRD says the new McCook Reservoir is filled with 3.5 billiob gallons of water. The Thornton Reservoirs have about 2.5 billion gallons of water in them with more capacity available.

Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River said, "We do not want sewage in the water. It's bad for wildlife. It's bad for people. We send it downstream to people who don't live in our communities."

Overflow dumped into the river system eventually makes its way to the Mississippi River, and then to the Gulf of Mexico.

"If a million people reduce by 20 gallons, that's 20 million gallons. We can make a huge impact and reduce the chances of a combined sewer overflow," Frisbie said.

Frisbie suggests saving water by taking shorter showers, not running the dishwasher and flushing toilets less.

She says conserving water on overflow action days also gives the MWRD time to empty the reservoirs and the Deep Tunnel, treat the water, and release clean water into the river systems.

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