So the EPA tells us, anyway. At a potential cost of billions of dollars. Paid by taxpayers.
From Taxpayers May Have to Pay Billions to Clean Up Chicago River (chicagobusiness.com, subscription required):
A four-year regulatory battle over whether to disinfect the MWRD’s treated wastewater, which accounts for about 70% of the Chicago River’s flow, is coming to an abrupt end after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined last month that the river needed to be clean enough for swimming, not just for boating.
The EPA decided that a river that is 70% sewage – because, hey, sewage has to go somewhere, and better the river than Lake Michigan – has to be clean enough for swimming?!
Why? There’s a hella big lake right over yonder. It’s called Lake Michigan. It’s nice. It’s where many Chicago residents go to cool off in summer months. Perhaps the EPA has heard of it.
Who the hell wants to swim in the Chicago River when we have miles and miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, lined with beaches? Sure, there’s a dead fish on the beach every so often, but at least it’s free.
Chicago is already drowning in red ink – is this new river swimming fad really going to turn things around? I’m pretty sure the answer is “no”. So, how much is a billion? That’s a 1 followed by nine zeroes, my friend. 1,000,000,000. You think a million is a lot? Multiply it by a thousand. And there are plenty more pressing problems, like the horrible education situation and the out-0f-control violence (even with a gun ban – it’s almost like gang-bangers ignore laws or something!). But we’ll just have to put those on the back burner, so we can swim in the river.
I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around this unbelievably stupid idea. But the EPA can, because it is clinically insane, first declaring CO2 toxic, and now this. Or … maybe it’s connected to Green Jobs somehow, and the president has some cronies who contributed to his campaign and now want a little sumn-sumn and, hey, lookee here, they just happen to make equipment that cleans sewage-filled rivers. For swimming! What a lucky break.
It makes just as much sense – probably more – as any other explanation. Which isn’t saying a whole lot. It’s a stupid waste of money, no matter how you look at it.