8/20/10

In the news: State, feds moving to require cleanup of Chicago River for recreation

From the Chicago Tribune:
In virtually every other city in the nation, it would be illegal to pump out partially treated sewage teeming with the amount of disease-causing bacteria that churns endlessly into the Chicago River.

That may soon change for Chicago. But as a state rulemaking panel moves closer to requiring its fetid waterways to be more like other rivers, a simmering dispute among scientists and policymakers is becoming more intense.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Pollution Control Board tentatively agreed to designate stretches of the river system as suitable for "limited contact recreation," a legal term for activities other than swimming. Now the obscure but influential panel must decide if anything needs to be done to protect people when they are on the river.

Most experts think the ruling will force the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to disinfect wastewater from its three massive treatment plants — an important germ-killing step that every other major U.S. city is required to take. Read more.

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