Chicago river reversal

Satisfactory Essays
An epidemic of water born diseases in Chicago was rampant in the early 1880s. In order to stop the spread the diseases, Chicago exercised their right to reverse the flow of the once stagnant river, thus saving the lives of Chicago residents.

In the early 1880s, Chicago was a bustling city on its way to becoming one of great cities in the world. There was a problem though. Horrible sanitation problems plagued the city. The Chicago River was virtually an open sewer covered with visible filth. Most of the river’s worst pollution came from homes and bathroom waste thought the city. “Bubbly Creek” was one of the worst branches of the river. It was filled with enough stockyard waste to equal the pollution from a sizable city. To further the problem, all of the contents of the river flowed into Lake Michigan, polluting Chicago’s drinking water causing a sever outbreak of water born diseases.

The history of the Chicago River is an interesting part of Chicago. The Chicago River was shallow and stagnant, but it had much potential because of its location and what it provided to the city. The Chicago River altered the human population as Chicago developed into a big city. Because of the river factories and stock yards moved in and caused major problems for the city. The rise of Chicago's Stock Yards was a significant benefactor to the city's pollution problem. In the late1840s Chicago large stockyards moved into the city along the river and dumped all of the meat packing waste into the river. Because of this problems such as, sewage, factory waste, and other wastes over flowed the river, and badly polluted the river. Unfortunately the river was connected to Lake Michigan, the source of water for Chicago residents, drinking wate...

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...r and clean out all of the waste that was polluting the city. Meanwhile St. Louis began to worry about Chicago's plans to reverse the river and send its sewage downstream. Both cities had experienced outbreaks of typhoid and other water born diseases. Missouri officials accused Chicagoans of sending their bacteria down the river toward St. Louis. On Jan. 2, 1900, the newly completed Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal filled with water for the first time. Chicago River was officially reversed. The reversal of the river provided cleaner drinking water and essentially ended the sweeping epidemics that plagued the city. Because Chicago exercised their legal right and moral responsibility to it's citizens, the Sanitary District of Chicago was created. The Chicago River was now safe for people and shipping. Had it not been so, the city of Chicago might well not exist today.
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