« March 2011 | Main | June 2011 »

May 2011 Archives

May 13, 2011

Chicago River Swimmers

Good news for future swimmers of the Chicago River: the EPA has declared that Illinois must now make the river clean enough to be swimmable.

The Chicago River was once a heavily industrialized waterway, but nowadays the prime source of pollution in the river is the wastewater released from the three enormous sewage treatment plants along the Chicago and the Calumet rivers. Sewage is treated at these plants but is not fully disinfected of bacteria before being released into the river system. For many years the Water Reclamation District has argued that the river is too dirty for recreational use, and therefore the released wastewater need not be cleaned to the higher standards of a more pristine waterway.

The EPA argues that deindustrialization and the miles of trails constructed along the river have indeed transformed it into a recreational river, and any wastewater released should be held to a higher standard of water quality.

Fully disinfecting wastewater from all three sewage treatment plants could cost up to $1 billion according to the Water Reclamation District, but the EPA estimates the cost will be much less. The current EPA decision will affect only the Howard Avenue and Calumet plants, not the big Stickney plant, costing even less.

May 17, 2011

America's Most Endangered Rivers

Today American Rivers released its annual list of 10 most endangered rivers in America. For the last 26 years the environmental advocacy group has compiled a list to raise awareness of rivers which can be improved by public support. Last week the Obama Administration and EPA recommended that the river must be made clean enough for recreation.

Meanwhile, the old school commissioners of the Water Reclamation District are arguing yet again that adding a complete disinfection system to the city's sewage treatment plants will cost billions, and the bizarre claim that enabling recreation on the river will only lead to children drowning. Better to have those city children play with the cars in the street than in the park along the river, apparently.

About May 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Down Chicago’s Drain in May 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2011 is the previous archive.

June 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35