Oct 15

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Can the Chicago River Change Its Ways (Again)?

Chicago once reversed—and now may re-reverse—its river. Why? Listen up:

Chicago River bridge

The Chicago River has quite the colorful history. (via Library of Congress)

More than a hundred years ago, pipes spewed sewage and factory waste directly into the Chicago River, which flowed into Lake Michigan, the city’s source of drinking water. Not surprisingly, waterborne diseases ran rampant.

Chicago’s solution was as mind-boggling as its problem—to reverse the flow of the river and dig a canal so it empties instead into the Mississippi.

The legacy of this artificial connection is a Pandora’s Box of expensive problems, including the threat of invasive species like Asian Carp entering the Great Lakes.

So today, many people believe it’s time to put a barrier back between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes. And that means cleaning up the water enough to re-reverse the Chicago River.

Get schooled:

The fine print:



Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/water-and-the-economy/can-the-chicago-river-change-its-ways-again/