Lake Michigan Diversion at Chicago

by William H. Espey, Jr., (M.ASCE), Resource Management Int, Inc, Austin, United States,
Oscar G. Lara, Resource Management Int, Inc, Austin, United States,
Robert L. Barkau, Resource Management Int, Inc, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Water has been diverted from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River basin beginning with the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in 1848 to serve navigation needs. During the late 1800s, Chicago experienced serious sanitation problems. Outbreaks of typhoid during the 1870s and 1880s were attributed largely to the use of lake water for water supply. The seriousness of the problem led the Illinois State Legislature to create the Chicago Sanitary District in 1889 to address the situation. The district, which became the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, constructed the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal as a solution to the growing contamination, drainage, and flooding problems. The canal, completed in 1900, connected Lake Michigan with the Illinois River waterway, reversed the flow of the Chicago River, and provided improved navigation facilities. In 1910, the North Shore Canal was constructed from the Lake at Wilmette to the North Branch of the Chicago River. The Calumet Sag Canal was completed in 1922 to carry sewage from East and South Chicago to the Sanitary and Ship Canal. The O'Brien Lock and Dam provided a second point of access from the Lake to the Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Subject Headings: Canals | Water pollution | Ships | Lakes | Water treatment | Water quality | Water policy | Water supply | Lake Michigan | Great Lakes | Chicago | Illinois | United States | Michigan | Mississippi River

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