Friday, January 22, 2010

Only In Chicago: Cleaner Water Bad For Climate

Chicago is the only big city in American that does not disinfect its wastewater when it sends it down a tributary - - in this case, the already-controversial canal that artificially connects to the Mississippi River basin and from which the Asian carp may be invading Lake Michigan.

Now they have a new justification: it'll raise the wastewater agency's carbon footprint.

It's hard to imagine an agency deeper in denial, or one that is less deserving of renegade status.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Chicago that claims to be making strides stormwater goals with green roofs and other eco-friendly water practices? What a way to undermine their message.

Cheryl Nenn said...

As a native Chicagoan, I can’t believe that the EPA or IL DNR lets Chicago get away with not disinfecting their sewage. Can’t Governor Quinn or Mayor Daley force this to happen? Ostensibly, they would have some control over the district and the direction its taking.



At the recent hearings in Chicago regarding disinfection last year (or 2 years ago?), one of the Water Reclamation folks essentially said that it was OK that they didn’t disinfect because hardly anyone uses the Chicago River. When people pointed out that many people canoe and kayak in that water, the official essentially stated that we should be given “Darwin” awards for being so stupid. I find this new argument completely outrageous. At a meeting a few months back in Chicago about EPA’s new recreational use water standards (due out in 2012, and already expected to be horribly antiquated), the agency continued to balk at producing different standards for recreational use in rivers as opposed to beaches, due to lack of epidemiological data, which I think is largely due to the Chicago river situation and irresponsible to all of us looking to have cleaner, safer rivers in which to recreate.

Sam said...

Then why were they so mad when Dave Matthew's Band emptied their tour bus crapper into the Chicago River? Looks like they were just cutting out the middle man.

matthew said...

Just because Chicago doesn't disinfect their water doesn't mean they don't treat it. The water get's treated before it gets dumped back into the river, it still goes through a huge purification process with chemical and bogs and whatnot where toxins are removed, and waste is broken down with microbes, the only difference is that at the end of the process they don't shoot radiation through the water to disinfect it, and why should they? Over disinfecting does more harm to our society than good. People don't need antibacterial hand soaps in their houses, they are not going to be doing brain surgery. It is just a marketing gimmick used to sell more soap, and Chicago doesn't need to disinfect the water it is already cleaner than the river which it gets dumped into.

Anonymous said...

Wait, SLUDGE is going into the tributary? Or did you mean liquid? Please unconfuse me.

James Rowen said...

To Anonymous: I should have said wastewater. Sludge is a technical term.

Anonymous said...

Disinfection is a drinking water purification process. Disinfecting wastewater would not only be unnecessary, expensive, but harmful to the environment. To demonstrate, dump a bottle of bleach in your fishtank. It is difficult for the public to grasp the treatment process.