Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MWRD: North Branch Pumping Station

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, 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.

(For future reference, I have come across "Racine Pumping Plant" and "pumping station at 68th near South Shore Drive." While Googling for them, I found a map of Chicago's supply water pumping stations. This looks like the Racine Pumping Plant. I didn't find anything around 68th and South Shore. I wonder if TARP makes all of these pumping stations obsolete.)

Update: this intercepting sewer would be later than the one feeding this plant when they started cleaning up the Calumet River/Lake area.

MWRD posted
Workers pause for a portrait during construction of the Calumet Intercepting Sewer in ‪#‎Chicago‬ on February 26, 1924.
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


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