Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Chicago River is green! and still filled with poop!

Chicago River St. Patrick's daySt. Patrick’s Day in Chicago and the Chicago River

Wooooo hooooo! its St. Patrick’s Day! A hallmark holiday we can all endorse and embrace because it involves a day of binge drinking and parades!

While Chicago does have deep Irish roots, most notably the rush of Irish immigrants during the immigration boom to the neighborhoods of Bridgeport and Beverly on the South side, most of that has been lost through gentrification and time. Now most of the emphasis on the holiday in Chicago is on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and dying the Chicago River green.

Dying the Chicago River green

Here’s a pretty cool video of a timelapse from last year’s event where a boat dumps bucketloads of environmentally-friendly green dye into the waterway:

This is all good and fun. And the video is pretty cool. And I’ll probably go down to the river to see them dying it green. But we should all remember that the Chicago River is also the city’s sewage canal. You wonder why only the tourists take those boat tours? Most people fail to realize that this waterway is essentially the same water that you can see in your toilet. Just a little less clean… Yes. The Chicago River is filled with your poop. In fact, its one of the most minimally-treated sewage released into any waterway in the U.S…. And on St. Patrick’s day, we get drunk and dye it green. It’s a timeless tradition that never seems to get old…

But just remember, no matter what color you dye it, its still poop.

I swear, if aliens ever landed on earth and studied our culture, they would be fascinated with this celebration.


  1. I just read your blog post to the people at my St. Patrick’s Day party. We approve of this post :) Hope you had fun watching the poopy water turn colors!


  1. […] doctored. That was just way too green. Radioactive, almost (which would be appropriate, considering what’s in it). And yet, we got there and I was stunned to see that the pictures were VERY true to the color! The […]

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