A debate is under way over how much–and at what financial cost–discharge from our wastewater treatment process should be cleaned up before being released into the Chicago and Calumet river systems. Though wastewater treatment technology and standards have improved tremendously, this network of rivers and canals remains polluted from years of receiving bacteria-laden effluent; you can now canoe the Chicago River, for example, but signs along it warn you not to even touch the water at risk of illness. Environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and officials with the Water Reclamation District–the agency responsible for wastewater treatment–would all like to see area waterways improved, but doing so would probably cost taxpayers millions of dollars and gobble up more energy produced through fossil fuels. If you’d like to find out more or offer your thoughts, the Illinois Pollution Control Board, a state regulatory body, will be conducting hearings Monday evening from 5:30 to 8 PM at the Water Rec District headquarters, 100 East Erie. For more info, check out the Web site of Friends of the Chicago River or go through the many documents posted online by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.