The Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down in Chicago.  Just a few weeks ago, the EPA issued an order for the city to clean up the Chicago River – enough so that we can swim in it…

In a letter dated May 11th from the EPA, a demand was made that the city of Chicago clean up the water that is being deposited into the Chicago River. This letter was simply enforcing the 1972 Clean Water Act. For decades the City of Chicago has been avoiding compliance stating that it would be too costly to clean up the river. One of their latest claims is that if they clean it up “drowning deaths would rise”. That is kind of crazy.  It’s similar to saying: “Why don’t we let our roads get to a point where they are totally impassible and we can eliminate traffic fatalities?”

The Water Reclamation District stated that the cost would exceed 1 billion dollars. Even at that exaggerated sum it would add up to little more than $7.00 per homeowner. That being said, more realistic estimates produced by federal studies show that it would be less than 1/4 of that cost and the majority of the money would be from federal sources. The Chicago River has been little more than a place to put Chicago’s sewage for far too long. On May 22nd both of our state senators took a tour of the Chicago River along with our state’s attorney and many others and it is clear something must be done. We were very close to approval to move forward until an objection from Commissioner Barbara McGowan delaying the vote until June 16th.

Just recently, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District voted to end the practice of dumping partially treated sewage into the Chicago River.  The Pollution Control Board will not issue a final decision until the scheduled June 16th date, though.  The Board will be taking public comments this week.  It’s time to clean things up.  Please let your voice be heard.