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Down in the Dumps’ Tour

The Southeast Environmental Task Force and Citizens for Landfill Alternatives will host a narrated bus tour of landfills and other waste facilities in the Calumet region on Saturday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Long the city’s major garbage receptacle, the Southeast Side no longer receives municipal solid waste, although privately-collected waste (including hazardous waste) is still landfilled at a Waste Management site, and the area still hosts giant garbage transfer stations, said Tom Shepherd of SETF. And the still-active Land of Lakes landfill is just across the Calumet River in Dalton.

The tour will visit landfills — including several notorious illegal dumps, now closed but not yet cleaned up — as well as recycling centers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s wastewater treatment plants and its huge sludge drying fields.

Citizens for Landfill Alternatives, joined by the chambers of commerce of the East Side, Hegewisch, and South Chicago, has promoted discussion of alternative garbage disposal technologies, some of which turn garbage into energy and useful products, Shepherd said.

“We’d like to see an end to landfills anywhere,” said Shepherd. “Not In My Backyard is not a solution — just shipping our waste on to Pontiac, Illinois, or to Indiana. We think the city and the nation have to develop alternative ways to get rid of our garbage.”

The tour leaves at 10 a.m. from the Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve, on the 134th Street exit of the Bishop Ford Expressway. The cost is $7 per person, with lunch provided after the tour by Friends of the Parks and Friends of the Forest Preserves.

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Category: environment, Southeast Side

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