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Daley supports reversing river flow

More than 100 years ago, the city completed years of work that reversed the river's flow to keep untreated sewage from flowing into Lake Michigan, source of the city's drinking water.
by Staff Writers
Chicago (UPI) Sep 11, 2010
Chicago's mayor says undoing a historic engineering feat, when the Chicago River's flow was reversed away from the Great Lakes, could improve their ecology.

Richard Daley, who recently announced he would not run again, announced his support for the idea in an interview Friday.

"I said, 'Boy that's a great project,'" Daley told the Chicago Tribune, recalling a conversation he had with his brother William as they sat near the lake. "Instead of diverting all that water, maybe we should reverse it (to flow into the lake)."

More than 100 years ago, the city completed years of work that reversed the river's flow to keep untreated sewage from flowing into Lake Michigan, source of the city's drinking water.

The project also connected Chicago to the nation's shipping waterways.

But it diverted a significant amount of water from the lake and created a path for invasive species like Asian carp to enter the Great Lakes ecosystem from the Mississippi River.

Environmentalists and Great Lakes advocates have long urged the city to redesign its system to return the Chicago River to its original flow.

Asian carp fears have prompted U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to asked Congress to look at re-engineering the region's waterway system. That study would look at the feasibility of reversing the river's flow.

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