Hi my name is Shane Peoples and I am a mentee with the Preston T Ross Mentoring Center. I am a current student enrolled in Engineering at Chicago State University. This summer break I interned at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in the Engineering Department.

During my internship I was responsible for protecting underground utilities and the safety of people working or living near them, by responding to an estimation of over 900 tickets this summer. These tickets consisted of the location of work, type of work and the depth of the work. Based on this information I would determine if they would they would potentially hit any underground assets. This was in my opinion a fairly easy, repetitive task, and could take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour for one ticket. I also worked lightly with Invoices and surveying, which dealt with verifying the hours worked and amounts paid to outside contractors, and determining the boundaries of the areas owned by the District.

Although the majority of my time was spent in the main office branch located in Downtown Chicago, I was able to visit the majority of the 7 plants owned by the District. I found it very interesting how the different plants had different methods of curing the waste water, from air filtration to chlorine, and even bacteria, all ending with the same result. I especially enjoyed the overall culture of the District, everyone from my superiors to other interns were cordial, and open for conversion and to answer any questions I had. Other than getting experience for myself and my resume, one of the reasons I did this internship was to get answers get actual first hand perspective on what the different fields of engineering could do. I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot and that this is definitely something I would both recommend and do again in the future.

Summary of the District:

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is located primarily within the boundaries of Cook County, Illinois. The District owns and operates one of the world’s largest water reclamation plants, The District serves an area of 883 square miles which includes the city of Chicago and 128 suburban communities. The District serves an equivalent population of 10.35 million people. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation Districts’ Tunnel and Reservoir Project (TARP) is one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. Four tunnel systems total 109 miles of tunnels, ranging from 8 to 33 feet in diameter and from 150 to 300 feet underground. The District treats an average of 1.4 billion gallons of wastewater each day. The District’s total wastewater treatment capacity is over 2.0 billion gallons per day.