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updated: 5/3/2011 10:49 PM

Environmental groups sue over waste dumping

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Associated Press

Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to end the dumping of human and industrial waste into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Prairie Rivers Network, accuses the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of repeatedly violating the federal Clean Water Act.

The groups seek a court order to immediately stop the dumping, but they don't offer a plan to accomplish that.

The lawsuit comes as the U.S. and Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies and the Department of Justice are working toward a deal intended to address the problem.

Plaintiffs' attorney Albert Ettinger says federal regulators have long been looking into the Water Reclamation District, but haven't taken action. The district had no comment.