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Old 30-07-2011, 08:40   #1
jzk
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Sewage in Lake Michigan

As we returned from the Mac race this year into our slip in DuSable Harbor in Chicago, I noticed that, once again, the Chicago River flood gates were open and sewage was flowing unbridled into the harbor. Not only raw sewage, but it looked as if many dumpsters worth of garbage was flowing in.

The Chicago and Milwaukee sewage treatment facilities simply can't handle large rains. So this is the result.

Doing a little research, I found that Milwaukee dumps about 51 million gallons of raw sewage into Lake Michigan each year. Not rainwater, but raw sewage. They dump over a billion gallons of rainwater annually. I couldn't find Chicago's statstics quickly, but given that it was flowing into DuSable at 5 - 6 knots, it had to be significant.

And he kicker is that these dumps are not small amounts filtered in at some kind of pace, but rather huge amounts flooded into the lake front all at once.

The recent one in Chicago involved opening both locks and just letting sewage flood out all the way to the light house.

The really interesting thing is that after a few days, the lake is fine and the beaches are open again. The Lake has a remarkable capacity for dealing with this not that I am in any way a supporter of it.

Now just crunching some numbers, each of Chicago's 5000 boats would have to dump over 10,000 gallons of sewage into the Lake to rival Milwaukee's discharges.

So, really, what would be the harm in invoking the 3 mile discharge rule for boaters? A tiny bit 3 miles off shore would be insignificant compared to dumping MILLIONS of gallons right into the harbor.

Additionally, they should consider using the 3 mile cribs to discharge the river water so that at least it goes into deeper water offshore as well.
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Old 30-07-2011, 13:46   #2
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

Hey, youse guys from Washington State, pay attention. Victoria isn't the only place that does this...
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Old 30-07-2011, 14:33   #3
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

Florida has been caught on video tape doing this. Nothing really happens. They are more worried about the sailboater or powerboater than fixing the major problem.
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Old 30-07-2011, 15:29   #4
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

Same happens in the SF BAY during rainy season. Millions of gallons of sewage from Marin, Richmond and of course San Francisco just to name a few dump into the bay during heavy rain events multiple times each winter. But lets worry about those nasty sail and power boats.
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Old 30-07-2011, 15:37   #5
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

For some reason the politicians are more worried about the one or two sailboats that do not adhere to the rules instead of the city that employs them,,seems kind of strange

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Old 30-07-2011, 15:54   #6
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

the idea of fighting city hall comes to mind.
Like you cant.

Make the water a no dumping zone and then the public city regularly violates the law with impunity, but the little innocuous trash or waste a boater might inadvertently loose gets public indignation, a big fine, just cause they can.

Laws are meant to prosecute individuals, city hall is exempt.
personally I think some law enforcement is blind, but not in a good way.

Perhaps this is like the mob mentality. too many individuals doing too many bad things all together that it is beyond sorting out who did what when where.

But the boater is a nice all neatly packaged law enforcement target.
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Old 30-07-2011, 16:22   #7
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

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Old 30-07-2011, 16:58   #8
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I'd say.

We are probably missing an opportunity to force society to look at environmental issues with more reason, rather than running around like "chicken little". EPA should be sued to enforce the law WRT cities with the same vigor as it does with boaters.

Leaking sewer line or malfunctioning sewer plant? Shut off the public water so there can be no flushing.

So you have a combined system and it's starting to rain? Shut off the public water so there can be no flushing.

If we are wanting to be serious about the environment, this would produce better results than the potty police.
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Old 30-07-2011, 17:05   #9
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

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What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I'd say. ...

Leaking sewer line or malfunctioning sewer plant? Shut off the public water so there can be no flushing.

So you have a combined system and it's starting to rain? Shut off the public water so there can be no flushing.
That's rediculous.
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Old 30-07-2011, 17:27   #10
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

That's the reason that the boat no discharge zones are so rediculous. If every boat owner lived aboard and ate bad Mexican Food everyday, it wouldn't equal the effluent dumped in the water by a malfunctioning municipal system in a few minutes.
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Old 30-07-2011, 18:26   #11
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

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Originally Posted by jzk View Post
As we returned from the Mac race this year into our slip in DuSable Harbor in Chicago, I noticed that, once again, the Chicago River flood gates were open and sewage was flowing unbridled into the harbor. Not only raw sewage, but it looked as if many dumpsters worth of garbage was flowing in.

The Chicago and Milwaukee sewage treatment facilities simply can't handle large rains. So this is the result.

Doing a little research, I found that Milwaukee dumps about 51 million gallons of raw sewage into Lake Michigan each year. Not rainwater, but raw sewage. They dump over a billion gallons of rainwater annually. I couldn't find Chicago's statstics quickly, but given that it was flowing into DuSable at 5 - 6 knots, it had to be significant.

And he kicker is that these dumps are not small amounts filtered in at some kind of pace, but rather huge amounts flooded into the lake front all at once.

The recent one in Chicago involved opening both locks and just letting sewage flood out all the way to the light house.

The really interesting thing is that after a few days, the lake is fine and the beaches are open again. The Lake has a remarkable capacity for dealing with this not that I am in any way a supporter of it.

Now just crunching some numbers, each of Chicago's 5000 boats would have to dump over 10,000 gallons of sewage into the Lake to rival Milwaukee's discharges.

So, really, what would be the harm in invoking the 3 mile discharge rule for boaters? A tiny bit 3 miles off shore would be insignificant compared to dumping MILLIONS of gallons right into the harbor.

Additionally, they should consider using the 3 mile cribs to discharge the river water so that at least it goes into deeper water offshore as well.

And where did you say the drinking water intakes were in relation to the sewage discharge points?
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Old 31-07-2011, 19:37   #12
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
That's rediculous.
Is it more ridiculous than what is required on boats? It certainly would be many orders of magnitude more effective, if the government is truly interested in improving the environment. But might makes right here.

Perhaps green dye (that proper treatment could remove) should be injected into household toilets to expose the guilty party.

A thought: does Amtrak still dump the potty straight on the tracks? They were a few years back.
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Old 31-07-2011, 22:27   #13
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

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A thought: does Amtrak still dump the potty straight on the tracks? They were a few years back.
Being a fan of railroads, I have a Southern Pacific RR sign in a bathroom stating "PLEASE DO NOT FLUSH WHILE TRAIN IS IN STATION." ... Nevertheless, railroad passenger cars now have holding tanks. No, Amtrack doesn't dump sewage on the railroad tracks. Also, railroad locomotives now have toilets with holding tanks too.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:42   #14
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Re: Sewage in Lake Michigan

thinking of the huge buffalo herds that used to be on the plains. Think of the cow pies, did this hurt the environment? How about when they cross the rivers, how about the wildebeasts in Africa.
Trains dumping on the tracks for a 200 years, did this hurt the environment? I think it hurts only the sensibilities of humans who react with disgust about a stinky normal biological process of digestion. Perhaps they did not like to see it laying about.
Dumping on land though is probably better than dumping at sea.

If you jump into the ocean and go, is this legal, or how about hanging over the side on a board with a hole. I think the sailors would do this even today in some places.

Years ago, I imagine the horses on the city streets made a fairly nasty street. What do you think happens in poor city places like in PERU, where I have some missionary friends.
Drop the pants and right in the streets in some towns. People have sterilized themselves from life. Of course they also have big problems with incest.
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