Governor Pat Quinn’s website says the new disinfection facilities should meet proposed fecal coliform standards. Ultraviolet lamps will be used for disinfection at the O’Brien plant to kill bacteria before wastewater is released into the North Shore Channel just north of the Chicago River. The work should be completed by December 2015.

“We are proud to begin the construction of disinfection facilities at the O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant and at our Calumet Water Reclamation Plant,” said MWRD President Kathleen Meany. “These facilities are the important next step in the transformation of Chicago area waterways into a second lakefront.” 

Margaret Frisbie, executive director of the Friends of the Chicago River, said, “The Chicago River is emerging as one of our region’s most significant natural resources. Wastewater disinfection is the natural next step in ensuring that the river will become clean and healthy for the people who live here and visit as well as the wildlife that calls it home.”

As a result, kayakers should feel a little safer paddling on a disinfected North Shore Channel.