EPA orders Chicago River cleanup again

May 12, 2011 5:06:57 AM PDT
Clean up the Chicago River. That's the message from the federal government to state officials in Illinois.

It is not the first time the feds have made those demands.

Federal workers told state officials to clean it up and do it quickly so people can actually use the river. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency is demanding in a letter that areas of the river be treated. The EPA wants it to be safe for recreation, such as swimming and canoeing.

If state officials don't comply, the EPA could do the work on its own and fine the state. Either way, you would pay more in the city and Cook County for sewer bills.

Last year, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley complained about a similar threat the EPA made to the city, and he told them to "go swim in the Potomac." He also said that the city has done a good job at cleaning the river.

"It is remarkable how clean the Chicago River is," Daley said. "This river is getting cleaner and cleaner by our actions and not by the federal government's. The government has not been a big participant in cleaning rivers in America."

It could cost up to $1 billion to overhaul sewage treatment plants and stop waste from entering the Chicago River. In the latest letter, the EPA sent to the state, it says it wants the Chicago River cleaned up "as soon as possible."

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