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Environmentalists Want Definitive End To Sewage Dumps Into Lake

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Indefinite discharges of raw sewage into Lake Michigan won’t cut it for a coalition of environmental groups, which Thursday asked a federal judge to set aside a proposed consent decree.

The proposed consent decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, reached last year, is intended to put an end to the discharges, both into the lake and into the Chicago River, but Alliance for the Great Lakes President/CEO Joel Brammeier said it has two major flaws.

He said it does not set a specific date by which raw sewage discharges must stop, leaving it open-ended. He said it also does not address how the district intends to deal with all of the storm water that Deep Tunnel won’t accommodate.

Brammeier said Deep Tunnel’s price continues to escalate, and the actual digging has continued for more than 30 years, with no end in sight. He said he sees little chance that it will ever prove to be the ultimate answer to Chicago-area flooding, and wants planning done to try to find other avenues of relief.

He said the flooding in storms this past April underscores the need to rework the decree.