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Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26th Thornton Reservoir Tour


Not really a hike, but an adventure... and learning experience.



Today was the day I finally got to go into the quarry on Interstate 80.  I have driven over it many times and marveled at its size.  A friend from work (Joe), mentioned he was going to take the tour before they flooded it.  I have always wanted to take the tour.  Now was the time.  They have been working on this reservoir project since 1975.  This quarry has been operational since the 1830's. The capacity for this reservoir is 7.9 billion gallons.

Once we arrived and got checked in, they had posters showing us various  projects. 


The poster on the left is the "drill bit"  that bore out the hole to the tunnel

This is an Aeriel view of the Thornton Reservoir and Quarry

Once checked in, we could take whatever pamphlets we wanted.  They also had bottled water, bananas and cookies. 

Picked up a few postcards for Kayla


All of us getting a staged photo

We boarded the mini bus and we were off

The road we went down on was twice as long as the length of the reservoir.  Once we went the length we turned a corner and went the rest of the way down.


Can you see Rt. 80 on the other side?  The concrete wall is a dam between the reservoir and the quarry. The capacity is about 1/2 way up the dam wall.

Making the turn


30 foot tunnel opening


There is a concrete splash pad deflector.  When the water comes through the tunnel, it will come with force.  They want it to be deflected as to not damage the floor of the reservoir.  Every thing that goes into the storm drain will come in here.

300 feet deep

Can you see the road we came down?


Going back




I can't remember the name of these items, but they are the things that will operate the doors for the tunnel.  They were made in Austria and tested in Pennsylvania.

When they open the tunnel, the water drainage will help the following communities: Blue Island,, Burnham, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago, Dixmoor, Dolton, Harvey, Lansing, Markham, Phoenix, Posen, Riverdale, South Holland.  The water will come in and then be pumped in to the water reclamation plant in Calumet and then clean water will be released into the river system.


I tried to pay attention to the details that the guide gave us.  Hope all my information is correct.  It was a very informative day.  

I will leave you with this: Try to learn something new every day!

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