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Swimming in the Chicago River?

June 02, 2010 at 06:42 AM

CHICAGO (AP) - In a letter filed with the Illinois Pollution Control Board, the Obama administration is calling for efforts to make the Chicago River safe enough for swimming.

The administration’s position goes far beyond new water quality standards proposed by Illinois regulators. The state’s plan would limit disease-causing bacteria in the river for the first time and require other steps to help fish thrive in its waters.

The letter was sent April 15. A copy was recently obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District estimates it would cost taxpayers $623 million to disinfect wastewater from its three treatment plants. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency commissioned its own study that concluded the cost would be considerably less - about $242 million, or about $2 a month per household spread out over two decades.

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