|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, west|
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, east|
The Collateral Channel was dug so that the West Fork east of the channel could be filled in making land that could be sold while allowing the industries west of it to still have use of the Ship Canal. If you zoom in on the "west" photo, you can see the Ship Canal was filled in west of Cicero Avenue. You can also see open hopper cars just east of Cicero Avenue. These would be on the C&IW.
Unfortunately, the Collateral Channel is now stagnate water that smells if there is not a wind to blow the stink away.
About six years ago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago gave serious consideration to a solution: capping the area and installing a wetlands project.Patrick Engineering evidently did the 2008 wetlands study that MWRD paid for and then ignored.
According to a 2008 public notice about the project posted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the MWRD and researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that sediment in the channel was highly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons “at a level that is of significant concern for ecological health and human health.”
Alarming words, yet no action was taken. (SunTimes)
The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization has offered to the MWRD to use Boy Scouts to help clean up the channel and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal itself between the Collateral Channel and Bubbly Creek. The MWRD has proposed filling up the channel with rocks and making a small park. Hopefully the rocks will be deep enough to keep the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons away from the kids playing in the park. (HispanicTimes, ChicagoRegionTreesInitiative)