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