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Why a Dirty River is Green

Human Body Contact

As reported in today's Tribune, the Water Reclamation District just completed a study which concludes that fully cleaning the wastewater from the city's sewage plants would increase their carbon footprint and therefore be bad for the environment. So the Chicago River must be degraded in order to save the entire Earth.

Chicago is one of the few large cities in the U.S. that does not send its wastewater through a final disinfectant processing, either using chlorination or UV treatment. This requires electricity, so that adding this step to the treatment process would increase the Water Reclamation District carbon footprint if it was used. That is the basis of the argument that not treating the water is better for global warming. By that logic, they should turn off the electricity for the treatment plants entirely.

For years the Water Reclamation District has resisted disinfecting its wastewater. They claim that the Chicago River is only used by a handful of recreational boaters, so there is no need to increase costs to benefit a narrow special interest. As long as Chicago is allowed to flush its waste downstream and out of its sight, the waste will be ignored. If the recent lawsuit by the State of Michigan had succeeded in closing off the Shipping Channel which drains our sewage, the Water Reclamation District would have to reconsider its position.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 22, 2010 9:54 AM.

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