Plainfield looks for long-term flood solutions


Photo by Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
Area retention ponds are doing their job keeping up with spring rain. The village has asked to work with the Army Corps of Engineers as part of a study to manage floodwater along the DuPage River basin.

By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff

The rainwater that drenched the area in late April has mostly dried up, and the river is back to its old self.

Still, a handful of areas still have some residual standing water, and some local retention ponds are still slightly above their usual levels as things dry up.

Earlier this month, Village Trustee Edward O’Rourke discussed the remains of this spring’s heavy downpours, asking if the village could step in to help.

“I know that a lot of times, [the water] goes to private ponds, and there’s very little the village can do, but I guess I just want to bring it up to let the residents understand that we acknowledge the concerns and the issues,” O’Rourke said during the May 8 Committee of the Whole meeting.

O’Rourke asked village staff if there is anything the village can do to assist people during or immediately after a flooding incident that may leave standing water in yards.

The answer – maybe.

“The mayor did send a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers to include this as far as consideration for the regional flooding, floodwater, and storm water study that they are conducting right now,” Director of Public Works Allen Persons said. “Some of these issues are challenging, many of the issues involve private property, private ponds, which is more common. Really the only retention pond that he city owns and maintains is the one at Setter’s Park. So, the other ponds within the community are owned by the HOA or they’re owned under private ownership. We really have no control. But regionally, could there be improvements to help storm water overall throughout the whole DuPage basin? That’s the intent of the Army Corps of Engineer study, and ultimately the implementation.”

That letter was sent three weeks ago.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a study of the DuPage River and its major tributaries, to measure flood risk from overbank and back water flooding, and come up with solutions to manage it.

Corps engineers are studying 353 square miles of the river throughout Will and DuPage Counties, looking to reduce the risk of flooding and the impact on structures, as well as preserve nature-based features.

The Corps first began to gather data in 2015. A feasibility report is expected this month, which will be presented to Congress by 2018 in an effort to seek out funds for flood water relief.

This is the first comprehensive study of the DuPage River since the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Persons said that the village has also helped alleviate flooding and standing water by requiring retention and detention ponds constructed in new developments to simply hold more runoff.

“The amount of storm water runoff that has to be compensated for, that the developers built for, [is] actually one and a half times more than it was before,” Persons said. “I know we have some flooding along the Norman drain on a sporadic basis, but some of the events, six inches of rain in that geographical area, we did very, very well. That area was remapped a couple of years ago, and the flood plain and flood way reduced in size. That’s due to the fact that the subdivisions that were built to the north had one and a half times the [storm water] storage than they were actually required. It’s been a benefit to the community and will continue to be a benefit for the community.”

Board members noted that while there is still some standing water, the latest storm system produced less flooding than has been seen in the past.



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