|Primary outflows||Des Plaines River|
|Basin countries||United States|
Lake Calumet is the largest body of water within the city of Chicago. Formerly a shallow, postglacial lake draining into Lake Michigan, it has been changed beyond recognition by industrial redevelopment and decay. Parts of the lake have been dredged, other parts reshaped by landfill, and the surviving fragment of the lake now, with the rest of the city of Chicago, drains into the Des Plaines River and the Mississippi River basin.
Calumet comes from the name of a peace pipe.
Until the 1800s, Lake Calumet was near the center of an extensive wetland area near the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Like other wetland areas, the Lake Calumet area and its rivers were a center of Native American life and settlement. The Field Museum maintains databases of archeological data on these settlements.
In 1861, the Lake Calumet region was mapped into Hyde Park Township south of what was then the frontier town of Chicago. As the 19th century approached its end, and because the lake's Calumet River created shipping opportunities out onto Lake Michigan, the swampy zone was rapidly filled and developed by industry in the 1880s. Hyde Park Township boomed and was annexed into Chicago in 1889. The area remains heavily industrialized today.
The Chicago neighborhood of Pullman, with its railroad passenger car factories, was sited on the lake's west shore. Steel mills began to line the Calumet River. The Illinois Central railroad was built nearby. In the 1950s, part of the former lakebed was utilized as a right-of-way for a freeway originally named in the lake's honor, the Calumet Expressway. Another parcel of former wetland, south of the lake, was designated as what is now the Paxton Landfill, the final home for much of the household and industrial solid waste generated within the city of Chicago. Some of the landfilling work was done with steel mill slag and other industrial wastes. The presence of hazardous chemicals in much of the fill material created a push to add parts of the Lake Calumet area to the Superfund list.
In 1996, the Calumet Expressway was renamed the Bishop Ford Freeway, honoring Chicago religious leader Bishop Louis Henry Ford at the expense of the half-infilled lake.
The remains of Lake Calumet lie east of the Bishop Ford Freeway (Interstate 94) on the far south side of Chicago, between 103rd Street and 130th Street. The lake itself is part of the underutilized Port of Chicago. A lakeside grain elevator can be seen from the freeway. South of the lake, the freeway passes the Paxton Landfill, including pipes that collect methane and other gases generated by the landfill.
The wetlands surrounding Lake Calumet were noted for being the only location where specimens of Thismia americana, an example of endemic wet prairie flora, were ever collected. Due to the profound physical changes that have taken place to the Lake Calumet catchment area, this plant is now believed to be extinct.
Although the Lake Calumet has undergone extensive human alteration over the period from 1880 through 2010, parts of the basin remain a wetland, and the basin has been designated an Important Bird Area of Illinois.
Superfund status 
On March 2, 2010, the EPA listed Lake Calumet Cluster, a cluster of sites grouped around Lake Calumet, on the Superfund List. Several local areas within this cluster are hazardous; excavation workers must use masks and self-contained supplies of air or oxygen. Despite these challenges, planners hope to conduct remedial cleanups of less-severely contaminated sites, and capping operations for the more heavily contaminated sites, within the cluster. Landfill gas could be collected and the methane filtered for use. 
Maps and images 
- "Industrial Corridor". City of Chicago. 2004-03-08. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
- Bob Tita, "Former dump getting capped", Crain's Chicago Business, October 23, 2006, p. 20.
- "Illinois Important Bird Areas". Chicago Wilderness. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
- Hood, Joel (2010-03-02). "Lake Calumet dumping ground declared a Superfund site". Chicago Tribune.