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Chicago Wastewater System

Monument of the Millennium
Seven Wonders of the Modern World, 1955

Chicago RiverThe reversal of the Chicago River, completed in 1900, enabled Chicago to continue its growth and progress after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Before the reversal, the safety of the Lake Michigan drinking water supply was constantly threatened by untreated sewage flowing directly into the river, which then flowed back into the lake. The Chicago Sanitary District, as it was known then, undertook a monumental task when it built a 28-mile-long channel that would connect the Chicago River with the Des Plaines River to reverse the flow of the river away from Lake Michigan. More than 28 million cubic yards of glacial drift and 12.9 million cubic yards of solid rock were removed, using conveyers, steam shovels, horse-drawn wagons, dynamite and the labor of thousands of immigrants.

Additional Information
Official website for the Friends of the Chicago River.
this camera offers many views of the Chicago skyline, including the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.
A chronological history of the reversal of the Chicago River.
A brief overview of the remarkable feat of reversing the Chicago River's flow.

ASCE provides these links for informational purposes only, without endorsement.