Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chicago Water

This morning I learned that Chicago doesn’t disinfect its wastewater for viruses, bacteria, and pathogens. An Alliance for the Great Lakes report “Protecting Public Health, Caring for Chicago’s Waters: An Agenda for Action” released yesterday notes that only four major U.S. cities do not disinfect.

The other three cities falling down on the job are Memphis, Tenn., St. Louis, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo. But those cities are expected to disinfect in the near future.

The Alliance report recommends disinfecting through UV technology at a cost of $8.52 per person, and the Alliance President throws the Olympics out there as one of many reasons for investing in the city’s waterways.

I’m not excited about the possiblitiy of a Chicago Olympics, but if that would help this city fix public trans and clean up the water, maybe I should be.


Johnny Yen said...

I do know they filter the water. I thought that they did put chlorine in the water?

A few years back, they collapsed one of the intake tunnels out into the lake while trying to install equipment to kill zebra mussels. They ended up using an intake that was closer in to shore than they normally would, accounting for occasionally muddy taste in the water.

A friend of mine who's a Chicago cop told me that about once a year, he draws duty guarding the big filtration plant near Navy Pier. He likes it-- very quiet.

Kathy said...

The report states that in 1984 Chicago stopped disinfecting with chlorine, due to environmental and other reasons. This is the method that most cities still use because it is inexpensive. The U.S. EPA is pressing for Chicago to disinfect, though.

Looks like it's in the hands of the Illinois EPA to upgrade water quality standards (which they should have done sometime in the last 23 years, it seems to me).

Johnny Yen said...

It's actually a good thing to dump the chlorine. It bonds with organic waste in water to form chloroform, a carcinogen.

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