Paddlers Beware: Sewage, Bacteria Still Plague Chicago River

A new analysis finds sewage and runoff overflow into the urban waterway once every six days.

Most Chicagoans know that their aging sewage system is quick to overflow when it rains, with the bacteria-laden excess directed straight to the Chicago River. But the longstanding problem isn't getting much better, despite years of efforts to clean up the waterway. This Chicago Tribune analysis delves into the dirtiest spots on the river, disturbingly high fecal coliform bacteria levels, and why the city still dumps an average of 318 million gallons of polluted water into the river with every storm.