Taking a dip in the Chicago River might be your last

"But while Mayor Rahm Emanuel is fond of calling the river Chicago's 'next recreational frontier,' the partially treated wastewater that pours constantly into its channels poses stomach-churning health risks to people who come in contact with the murky flow." [Michael Hawthorne, "Chicago River teems with filth" Sunday's Tribune below the fold]


The Chicago River ain't fit for a swim.

It's filled with E. coli, sometimes to the brim

Some fish are alive in,

But  I wouldn't dive in

Because I'd be risking my life and my limb.

Filed under: health and safety


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  • Really a shame that we don't treat the river more carefully, as it does empty into Lake Michigan ultimately, and everyone is so vested in the environmental preservation of the Great Lakes, but aside from that, it does have the potential to be a beautiful part of the Chicago landscape all in itself. While the city has not been really good lately at preserving anything, and the trend is to sell off assets that actually generate revenue, perhaps its present condition insures that it continues to actually be part of the Chicago landscape instead of owned by Cinncinati.

  • In reply to Sue Fitzpatrick:

    It empties into Lake Michigan only if the storm overflow locks in Wilmette are opened. Otherwise, you seem to have missed that the flow of the Chicago River was reversed 115 years ago, explicitly to get the waste out of Lake Michigan and send it down the Des Plaines River. That's why the sewage plant is in Stickney.

  • Which Mare Daley said that it would be safe to fish in the Chicago River? I think the first one did, and the second that it was.

    Maybe Emanuel's gefilte fish is gefilthy. In the meantime, is the state still trying to sell all the Asian Carp headed this way?

  • In reply to jack:

    The World According to Carp?

    Love your nifty pun: gefilthy.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    According to Carp AND gefilthy? Punning is contagious, especially here!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Someone in Mississippi was aquafarming koi that wasn't so coy.

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