Waterways for Our Future

In June 2000, Friends of the Chicago River, Openlands, and the Civic Federation, released Waterways for Our Future, a collaborative study of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Great Chicago’s land, water, and governance/organizational structure and the impact they have on the Chicago River system. One of the key findings was that of all of the major sewage agency dischargers in the Unites States only the MWRD did not disinfect the sewage effluent that it was releasing.

This report contributed to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency launching a five-year Use Attainability Analysis in 2002 that led to the legal improvement of recreational use and aquatic life water quality standards that govern the Chicago River system  which were approved in 2011 and 2015, respectively.