Chicago Sanitary District Pioneers in Controlling Flooding, Water Pollution

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 7, Pg. 58-63

Document Type: Feature article


Chicago's Metropolitan Sanitary District is a national leader in at least four areas: (1)Controlling overflows of combined sewers. Chicago's answer to this problem is its innovative Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, in which big diameter, deep tunnels collect overflows, direct them to big reservoirs for storage until storm runoff has subsided and the sewage treatment plants have capacity to handle the overflows. (2)controlling flooding in suburban areas. Here, Chicago's suburbs are (by regulation and land acquisition) controlling development in their floodways and flood plains. In return, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service is providing money for reservoirs that will temporarily hold excessive storm flows. (3)Instream aeration as an alternative to advanced or tertiary treatment of wastewater. Construction will soon start on the first of 10 instream aerators that will make the area the national leader. (4)Disposal on land of sewage plant sludge. In 1974 MSD's program of recycling liquid sludge to the land was named by ASCE the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year. Now, because costs are lower, Chicago may turn more toward drying the sludge to a cake and marketing it as a soil amendment and fertilizer.

Subject Headings: Water pollution | Overflow | Reservoirs | Sludge | Floods | Tunnels | Storms | Sewage | Chicago | Illinois | United States

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