Stories by Elizabeth Brackett

Why Are There Fewer Boats in Monroe Harbor?

Monroe Harbor looks very different this boating season: it’s only half full. What the Chicago Park District is doing with the extra space.

Why Illinois Soybean Farmers Fear a Potential Trade War With China

Illinois farmers are hoping for progress in Washington, where the U.S. and China have begun a second round of trade talks.

Straits of Mackinac Spill Raises New Fears of Great Lakes Disaster

An accident in the Straits of Mackinac is raising new fears about a possible oil spill disaster in the Great Lakes.

Foxconn Seeks 7M Gallons of Lake Michigan Water Daily

The Chinese tech company Foxconn wants to withdraw 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan for its proposed new Wisconsin plant. But would that violate the compact to protect the Great Lakes?

McCook Reservoir (Courtesy Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board of Commissioners)

Mix of Heavy Rain, Melting Snow Puts McCook Reservoir to the Test

The newly opened McCook Reservoir kept untreated sewage out of the lake, but not out of local rivers.

Navy Pier Flyover Won’t Be Completed Until 2019. Why?

Chicagoans have watched the Navy Pier Flyover begin to take shape over the last three years. But the city recently pushed back the completion date to 2019. Frustrated cyclists and pedestrians are beginning to ask why.

Weekend Storm Overwhelms Chicago’s Sewer, Deep Tunnel System

Chicago’s sewer and deep tunnel system couldn’t handle this weekend’s rain, allowing untreated sewage and stormwater into Lake Michigan.

State Says Asian Carp Plan Too Expensive, Activists Say ‘Don’t Wait’

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers says the best place to stop Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes is the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet. But the state says the plan is too expensive for Illinois taxpayers and the shipping industry.

New Campaign Aims to Boost Chicago’s Dismal Recycling Rate

Chicago’s recycling rate is among the lowest in the country. What the city is now doing to try to change that.

Where Does Chicago’s Garbage Go?

Chicagoans dump more than 800,000 tons of garbage into their bins every year, but once city garbage trucks leave the alley, most of us have no idea where it all goes. We follow the trail.

(Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)

Budget Cuts Could Hinder Efforts to Keep Asian Carp Out of Great Lakes

Looking at the impact of a proposed funding cut to the program that aims to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes.

Chicago River Cleanup Efforts Bolstered by Phosphorus Agreement

The Chicago River is a lot cleaner than it used to be. And after years of litigation, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and environmental groups have agreed to a settlement and will work together to make the river even cleaner. 

Roseland Community Hospital Battles for Survival on Far South Side

With the continuation of Obamacare now in question, hospitals serving low-income and uninsured populations face a very uncertain future.

In East Chicago, Fallout from Toxic Soil Runs Deep in Community

East Chicago residents are getting the toxic soil dug out of their yards. But why has it taken the EPA so long to begin cleaning up these neighborhoods?

(Roman Boed / Flickr)

Environmentalists: Proposal Could Add Invasive Species to Great Lakes

Proposed legislation could open the door to more invasive species in the Great Lakes, say environmentalists. But shippers say it puts a patchwork quilt of conflicting regulations under one federal agency that allows them to do business while still keeping invasive species out.

(Photo by Ricardo Pinto. Copyright ACEA 2016)

America's Cup Chicago Sails Into Freshwater

The America's Cup hits freshwater for the first time as it comes to Chicago this weekend. Elizabeth Brackett takes us to Navy Pier where teams are preparing for the races.

Faced with Water Crisis, Waukesha Looks to Lake Michigan for Help

Activists warn of ‘dangerous precedent’ if Lake Michigan water diverted

The city of Waukesha, Wisconsin wants to take just over eight million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan for the city's drinking water. But environmental activists warn that allowing access could set a dangerous precedent.

Great Barrier Reef (Lock the Gate Alliance / Flickr)

Local Scientists, Institutions Join Global Fight to Save Coral Reefs

Coral reefs evolved 240 million years ago, but now scientists say coral reefs could be gone before the end of this century. They say the biggest threat is the warming ocean water. Three major institutions in Chicago are now actively engaged in the fight to save the coral reefs.  

Taking a Closer Look at Chicago’s Lead Pipes

The disaster in Flint has spotlighted the dangers and adverse health outcomes of lead seeping into communities’ drinking water. Elizabeth Brackett reports on the lead pipes carrying water into Chicago and suburban homes. 

Activists Call for Closure of Waukegan Coal-Fired Power Plant

Activists want a date when the 88-year-old Waukegan coal-fired power plant will begin a transition to cleaner power. But NRG Energy says it's poured millions into pollution controls for the plant and has no plans to close.

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s Lead Pipes: What You Need to Know

The disaster in Flint has spotlighted the dangers and adverse health outcomes of lead seeping into communities’ drinking water. Elizabeth Brackett reports on the lead pipes carrying water into Chicago and suburban homes. 

As Risk of Great Lakes Oil Spill Grows, So Do Concerns About Cleanup

The risk of a Great Lakes oil spill has grown as the region becomes a hub for refining and transporting heavy tar sands oil. Oil that the Coast Guard says it does not have a method to clean up.

2014 ITU World Triathlon Chicago (Delly Carr / ITU Media)

Chicago Plays Host to Elite Triathletes at World Final, Championships

More than 6,500 athletes compete this weekend

Chicago lost out on the Olympics to Rio but this week, world titles will be at stake as 6,500 pro- and age-group triathletes compete in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships. Chicago Tonight's Elizabeth Brackett will be one of them – she tells us what to expect.

For Some Chicago Residents, Mixed Emotions on Affordable Housing

Chicago began demolishing its crime-ridden, dilapidated public housing high-rises in the mid-1990s. By 2000, the city had launched the ambitious Plan for Transformation, aiming to replace 38,000 public housing units with new or rehabbed mixed-income units in 10 years. But 15 years later, the Chicago Housing Authority is still working to complete that goal.

The Mackinac Bridge.

Activists: 62-Year-Old Pipeline Poses Threat to Straits of Mackinac

A break in the aging pipeline that crosses under the pristine waters of the Straits of Mackinac could be catastrophic for the Great Lakes. Is the old pipeline a threat? Elizabeth Brackett brought us the story in June. We take another look in this encore presentation.

Gigi’s Playhouse

Started by a mother’s desire to help other families with children with Down syndrome, Gigi’s Playhouse now has locations in 23 states in the U.S. and Mexico. Elizabeth Brackett reports on how the organization has helped its namesake and many other children.