Skip to main content


The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

or click here to sign up for a free trial


The Lower Des Plaines River receives almost all point source and urban runoff discharges from the Chicago Metropolitan Area (9.5 million inhabitants). The river was extensively modified and is a part of the Chicago - Illinois River waterway system. It is the largest effluent dominated stream in the US in which more than 80% of flow is from effluents, from the reversal of flow of the Chicago Rivers, and some flow directly from the Lake Michigan. For more than 100 years it was a heavily polluted water body. It received a lesser use designation of “secondary contact recreation and indigenous aquatic life” (Secondary Contact Use) by the State of Illinois in 1970s.

The goal of the Use Attainability Analysis was to upgrade the designated use (Secondary Contact Use) to a higher use that would be commensurate with the goals of the Clean Water Act. The study includes an extensive water body assessment analyzing the chemical, physical (habitat), biological, and bacteriological integrity of the water body and sediments. The investigated segments are two impounded navigational pools on the Lower Des Plaines River. The length of the UAA segment of the river is about 20 km.

The UAA has found that the water quality situation of the river has significantly improved since the 1970s when the Secondary Contact Use designation was defined by the Illinois Pollution Control Board and assigned to the river. The water and sediment quality today is also better than that measured ten years ago. The study defined and suggested a Modified Impounded Use with modified standards for dissolved oxygen and adoption of the general use standards, some of them in a modified form, for other water quality parameters. Standards for limited recreation were also developed. The article concludes with a brief description of the action plan to meet the new enhanced goals for the river.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more