Bubbly Creek flows north from the 35th Street Bridge and serves as the border between the McKinley Park and Bridgeport neighborhoods.

U.S. House Approves Funding for Bubbly Creek Cleanup

Published August 31, 2020

The highly polluted waters and riverbed of the South Branch of the Chicago River — aka Bubbly Creek — remain on-track for cleanup thanks to U.S. House of Representatives approval of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. The act, which authorizes the study and construction of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects that build and maintain inland waterways, provides funding for the corps' Bubbly Creek ecosystem restoration project, as well as numerous other local and national projects.

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“WRDA is vital to maintaining the Illinois Waterway system, which runs through the middle of the Third District and is critical to the local and regional economy," said Congressman Dan Lipinski, who represents Illinois' 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives

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As previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, Bubbly Creek has been the subject of a years-long process of study and planning for cleanup, including how best to manage the thousands of tons of toxic muck at the bottom of the channel, a legacy of over 100 years of dumping from nearby industry and Chicago's former Union Stock Yards. A recent study by the corps in coordination with the City of Chicago puts an $18 million price tag on the cleanup project.

Water Act Still Requires Passage

WRDA now needs to pass U.S. Senate approval before being signed into law, a process that has been delayed due to legislative slowdowns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I am confident that we will complete WRDA this year and have the bill signed into law,” Lipinski said.

In addition to funding Bubbly Creek cleanup, this year's WRDA also includes provisions from Lipinski to fight the spread of invasive Asian carp, study Chicago-area river ecosystems and the eroding Lake Michigan shoreline, and other initiatives.

Lipinski is currently serving in a lame-duck role in Congress, having lost the 2020 Democratic primary election for the 3rd District seat to Marie Newman, who is expected to win the upcoming general election in November.

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