Firefighters Practice Maneuvers at MWRD Facility

Mainstream Pumping Station offers unique environment for steep rescue

Countless lives and homes are saved every year thanks to the efforts of the area’s firefighters. Preparation and training often requires access to unusual training locations, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently provided a unique environment for practicing rope-climbing maneuvers in a steep, tightly-enclosed space. Located at the MWRD’s Mainstream Pumping Station in Hodgkins, Ill., the facility includes a 300-ft empty elevator shaft that is used to move equipment up and down for the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP).

“It is an honor to provide access to our facility for these training activities,” said MWRD Executive Director Dave St. Pierre. “These brave men and women put their lives on the line each time an alarm bell rings. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their selflessness and for their commitment to their profession and the communities they serve.”

“The shaft is a rare, yet perfect location for fire departments to practice rappelling,” said Capt. Kevin Mulligan, Pleasantview Fire Protection District, LaGrange Highlands, Ill. “We certainly appreciate the opportunity to use this unique setting for training exercises.”

The Mainstream Pumping Station was built to prevent backflows into Lake Michigan, eliminate waterway pollution caused by combined sewer overflows and provide an outlet for floodwaters. The Mainstream Pumping Station is one of three stations in the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan that the MWRD designed and is constructing to capture combined sewer overflows from an area of 375 sq miles. The sewage and storm water that enters the tunnel system is transported to Mainstream which then pumps the flow to the MWRD’s Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero, Ill.

“Many thanks to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District staff and Commissioners for allowing all of us to have this annual training,” said Capt. Mulligan. “This is a fantastic opportunity and everyone is appreciative.”

Fifty-one members from 11 area fire departments participated in the annual technical rescue training at Mainstream Pumping Station recently: Argonne Fire Department, Darien Woodridge Fire Protection District, Hinsdale Fire Department, LaGrange Fire Department, LaGrange Park Fire Department, Lemont Fire Protection District, McCook Fire Department, Pleasantview Fire Protection District, Tri State Fire Protection District, Westmont Fire Department and Western Springs Fire Department.


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