There’s a lot of Peoria in Chicago. In the “Mud-to-Parks” program, 79 barges full of dredge from the Illinois River have been spread over 25 acres of slag at the former U.S. Steel South Works in Chicago, now part of a residential-commercial project called Lakeside.

 Gov. Pat Quinn celebrated the last load of mud Friday. “It's a matter of getting the resources necessary to continue the barges,” he said. “The dredging in Peoria, the barges coming 163 miles north.”

Click Here for Summary

The idea was developed by former Illinois Department of Natural Resources scientist John Marlin, now with the University of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. He describes the mud in appetizing terms: “If you spill chocolate milk on your table, it runs on the floor before you can sop it up,” he said. “This material is more like a Wendy's Frosty. You can take the cup, turn it upside down, (and) it stays in the cup.”

Marlin said the muck is about 50 percent moisture, so it is not as if the barges were simply carrying water.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /