Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MWRD: North Branch Pumping Station

(3D Satellite)
Jozef Bernatak posted
I've seen this view multiple times. A Flickr photo shows another side that has some nice architectural touches.

Reversing the flow of the Chicago River kept the sewage that drains into the North Branch out of the lake, but it did not keep the sewage that drained into the lake out of the lake. So the sanitary district built intercepting sewers along the lake front from 1900-07 to carry the sewage to this pumping station which dumped it into the North Branch. (The Chicago River An illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, 2nd Edition, 2006, David M. Solzman, p.75)

After the North Side Water Reclamation Plant was built, I assume it pumps the lake side sewage into an interceptor sewer that feeds the WRP.

Birds-Eye View
Chicago Patterns has some interior, as well as exterior, photos of the station. I wonder if the plant has diesel-alternator gensets because the most likely time we loose power around here is when the plant would be pumping storm water as well as sewage. Those big electric motors would use a lot of electricity. Of the six motors I see, only the lower-right one is spinning. There are more motors along the left that are out-of-frame. John Van Norman has a Flickr Album of exterior shots.

MWRD posted
A completed section of intercepting sewer in an unknown location, with scaffolding below a manhole shaft and an electric locomotive with muck cars on September 11, 1928

MWRD posted
A view of the bottom of a drop shaft during construction of the North Side intercepting sewer on September 6, 1924
Evidently another name for this station is the Lawrence Avenue Pumping Station because I can't believe another station would look exactly like the North Branch Pumping Station.

ChicagoRiver: Water Quality Milestones
Canoers enjoy the waters near the Lawrence Avenue Pumping Station (2005).

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