At a press conference on Thursday Governor Quinn announced that the state will be contributing $10 million to help disinfect the Chicago River. Chicago is the only city that doesn’t currently disinfect its wastewater and this money will pay for about half of the initial $21 million cost to engineer and design the project. Construction for disinfection will begin in the fall and the entire project is expected to be finished by December 2015 and disinfection processes fully implemented for the 2016 recreational season.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, EPA director Lisa Jackson, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District executive director David St Pierre also spoke at the announcement. All four spoke about the river as a new recreational frontier and destination spot for residents and visitors in the city. The path to disinfection has been long and tedious journey for environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River so it is exciting to see enthusiasm from these leaders for continued improvements in water quality.