Drought won`t affect Chicago River much after all - New York News

Drought won`t affect Chicago River much after all

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After months of severe drought, the water level of Lake Michigan has fallen slightly below that of the Chicago River.

There were rumors that the drought could create problems in the Chicago River. In fact, some said it could reverse the flow. But, as FOX 32's Mike Flannery found out, though the low levels are unusual, it isn't unheard of and it's happened before.

The surface of the big lake is normally about 200 higher than the river, which is why a lock was built to lift or lower boats passing from one to the other. Now, the seawall plays an unusual role: keeping dirtier Chicago River water from leaking into the much cleaner lake--the source of drinking water for millions.

In an operations center where Water Reclamation District engineers monitor and control flows between Lake Michigan and three local waterways, computer screens told an unusual story. The surface of the Chicago River was a tiny bit higher than the surface of Lake Michigan: 6/100ths of an inch, to be exact.

But, they said, very little water from the polluted river would end up in the lake, thanks largely to a network of recently modernized seawalls and gates.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the huge lock near Navy Pier. The Corps said it was prepared to limit lock operations, in order to reduce any flow of river water into the lake. Engineers are not expecting problems. The Corps' hydrological forecasters expect the level Lake Michigan to rise several inches by summer, restoring a more normal balance to the local ecosystem.

The lake's level was even lower in 1964 than it is now, according to the operations manager for the water reclamation district. It does put a spotlight on how dependent this part of the country is on Lake Michigan.

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    NYC stores with no signs feed curiosity

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:40 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:40:09 GMT
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
    From coffee shops in Brooklyn to restaurants in Manhattan, we find speakeasies standing out by blending in. When people in Bushwick want a green machine juice blend they visit Leticia Castillo's Owl Juice Pub. But first they must find the owl. "We been doing fine without a sign," Castillo says.
  • NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:40:57 GMT
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
  • Ex-Councilman Halloran quickly convicted in bribery plot

    Ex-Councilman Halloran quickly convicted in bribery plot

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:53:04 GMT
    A jury took only about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran of bribery charges in a scheme to buy a spot on the mayoral ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith. Halloran was also found guilty of taking payoffs from what he thought were developers who wanted him to funnel city money their way. The men were actually an FBI agent and an FBI informant.
    A jury took only about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran of bribery charges in a scheme to buy a spot on the mayoral ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith. Halloran was also found guilty of taking payoffs from what he thought were developers who wanted him to funnel city money their way. The men were actually an FBI agent and an FBI informant.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices