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WISCONSIN V. ILLINOIS, 289 U. S. 395 (1933)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wisconsin v. Illinois, 289 U.S. 395 (1933)

Wisconsin v. Illinois

No. 5, original

Argued April 17, 1933

Decided May 22, 1933*

289 U.S. 395


1. The State of Illinois is the primary and responsible defendant in this suit, with full liability for the acts of its instrumentality, the Sanitary District of Chicago. P. 289 U. S. 399.

2. The Rivers and Harbors Act of July 3, 1930, with respect to the Illinois Waterway, does not purport to authorize diversion of water from Lake Michigan in excess of the amounts allowed by the former decree in this case, 281 U. S. 281 U.S. 696, nor does it conflict in any way with the terms of the decree. P. 289 U. S. 402.

3. The operation of the decree and the obligation of the defendants to carry it out have not been affected by the possibility that, under a proposed treaty with Canada, and appropriations in the Rivers and Harbors Act of July 3, 1930, works may be erected in the Niagara and St. Croix Rivers to compensate for the diversions of water at Chicago. P. 289 U. S. 404.

4. The authority of the Court to enjoin the continued perpetration of the wrong inflicted upon the complainant states by defendants' diversion of waters from Lake Michigan necessarily embraces the authority to require that measures be taken to end conditions within control of the defendant state and which may stand in the way of the execution of the decree. P. 289 U. S. 406.

5. In providing other means of sewage disposal for the protection of the health and lives of her citizens as the flow of lake water through the drainage canal is reduced by force of the decree, the state is not exercising her police power, strictly speaking, but is complying with her duty to end the conditions which she has urged, and still urges, as a ground for postponing the relief to which the complainant states have been found entitled. P. 289 U. S. 405.

6. In view of defendants' representation that controlling works -- part of the plan hereinbefore considered -- will not be needed before December 31, 1935, the date set in the decree for reduction of the diversion from the lake to 5,000 cubic feet per second, the Court deems it unnecessary at this time to enlarge the decree by a special requirement as to controlling works. P. 289 U. S. 407.

Page 289 U. S. 396

7. It appearing that the Sanitary District cannot construct the necessary sewage disposal works in time, for want of financial resources, the decree is enlarged to prescribe in terms:

"That the State of Illinois is hereby required to take all necessary steps, including whatever authorizations or requirements, or provisions for the raising, appropriation and application of moneys, may be needed in order to cause and secure the completion of adequate sewage treatment or sewage disposal plants and sewers, together with controlling works to prevent reversals of the Chicago River if such works are necessary, and all other incidental facilities, for the disposition of the sewage of the area embraced within the Sanitary District of Chicago so as to preclude any ground of objection on the part of the state or of any of its municipalities to the reduction of the diversion of the waters of the Great Lakes-St.Lawrence system or watershed to the extent, and at the times and in the manner, provided in this decree."

P. 289 U. S. 410.

8. The State of Illinois is further required to file in the office of the Clerk of this Court, on or before October 2, 1933, a report to this Court of its action in compliance with this provision. P. 289 U. S. 411.

9. The application of the complainant states for the appointment of a commissioner or special officer to execute the decree of April 21, 1930, on behalf of and at the expense of the defendants, is denied. P. 289 U. S. 412.

10. Costs, including expenses and compensation of the Special Master, to be taxed against defendants. P. 289 U. S. 412.

This is an application by the complainant states to secure execution of the decree of April 21, 1930 ( 281 U. S. 281 U.S. 696), by compelling the construction of the works necessary for treatment and disposal of sewage in order that the amounts of water taken from Lake Michigan through the Chicago Drainage Canal may be reduced from time to time, as the decree requires, without creating a dangerously unsanitary condition in and about Chicago. See the earlier opinions, 281 U. S. 281 U.S. 179 and 278 U. S. 278 U.S. 367.**

Page 289 U. S. 397

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