The BGA and Chicago Sun-Times published an investigation over the weekend that focused on an oil company leasing land in Stickney from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District – and spilling chemicals on the property four times since 2006.

The investigation focused not only on environmental aspects of the leaks, but on how the MWRD – which is supposed to be guarding our natural resources – may not be the most on-the-ball landlord.

MWRD handles flooding and sanitation for much of the Chicago region. And it has tools to ensure its land – our land, the taxpayers’ land, and nearby water sources – aren’t poisoned.

Yet MWRD doesn’t appear to be doing very much or, unfortunately, saying much.

Perhaps the most telling paragraph in the BGA/Sun-Times story was this one:

“Water reclamation district board president Mariyana Spyropoulos refused repeated requests for an interview. The board’s seven other members – all elected by Cook County voters – didn’t respond to written questions.”

Those seven board members are Barbara McGowan, Frank Avila, Michael Alvarez, Timothy Bradford, Cynthia Santos, Kari Steele and Debra Shore.

Their silence should be concerning to taxpayers who foot the bill for this billion-dollar agency.

This blog post was written by the Better Government Association’s Robert Herguth, who can be reached at (312) 821-9030 or