Fiscal cliff could dump sewage into Great Lakes

A program for fixing sewers is at risk because of the federal budget crisis. It comes as climate change is expected to bring more heavy rains that cause sewers to overflow. Advocates say the program helps struggling cities, the environment, the economy.

Sprawl, climate change, carp control hinder Chicago sewer solution

When more than two inches of rain falls in the Chicago area, the deluge flowing into storm sewers mixes with the wastewater from homes and businesses.   Often there is more water than the metropolitan area’s treatment plants can handle, so the excess is discharged untreated into the Chicago River and its connected waterways. Such Combined Sewer Overflows — CSOs – are common in Chicago and many other U.S. cities where storm water and municipal wastewater are funneled into the same aging combined sewer pipes. Milwaukee and other cities discharge CSOs into Lake Michigan. The discharges include high levels of bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxic metals including copper and cadmium, nutrient pollutants including phosphorus, and suspended solids.