The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago is one of the largest users of water from the Chicago River, but records show it has never followed state rules governing the protection of the river's fish.
State records indicate that the skyscraper siphons nearly 20 million gallons (76 million liters) a day for its cooling systems before pumping water back into the river at up to 35 degrees hotter, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Nearly 30 types of fish have been found in the river during the past four years, according to federal and state biologists. State and federal regulations limit the number of fish that can be trapped or killed during water intake processes.
The records show that of the nearly one dozen high-rise buildings using the river for cooling water, Trump Tower is the only one that has failed to document that it followed the requirements. Officials at the decade-old building also failed to study fish killed by the complex.
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The Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Chicago River and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago notified building managers last week that they're planning a federal lawsuit alleging the building has repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act.
"Why should Trump Tower get special treatment?" said Albert Ettinger, an environmental lawyer with the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River.
The Illinois EPA plans to revise its draft permit for the building to address issues regarding the facility's cooling intakes, said Kim Biggs, an Illinois EPA spokeswoman. The agency will also hold public hearings to discuss the changes.
Trump Tower officials didn't reply to the newspaper's request for comment.