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updated: 8/2/2011 6:05 AM

Palatine residents push for flooding fix

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By Jeff Englehardt

Palatine residents pressed village officials Monday, looking for answers and relief from the recent storm that flooded their houses.

Flood victims voiced their displeasure with village officials at the board meeting Monday for their lack of response to the July 23 storm. The storm hit Palatine hard with more than 7 inches of rain falling in a 24-hour period, including a three-hour span where 5.4 inches fell.

Barbara Morris, who lives on Saratoga Drive, was out of town when the storm hit and came home to find 2 feet of water in her basement and no electricity. Morris made it clear she did not accept the severity of the storm as an excuse for all the damage as it was the third time in the last 10 years her house was flooded.

"We all invest in our homes," she said. "Something needs to be fixed."

Morris said she has spent thousands of dollars in repairs and flood prevention investments since 2001 and has yet to see any real improvement from the village's $17 million investment during the same time.

Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen said he understands there was significant loss and plenty of work needs to be done, but past improvements in the Saratoga area prevented what could have been even worse damage.

He said the village is currently gathering information from the areas hit the worst, including Saratoga Drive, to study possible methods to prevent future flooding.

"The high intensity of the storm overwhelmed many of the systems," he said. "We're studying ways to improve what we can now and are still encouraging residents to contact us."

One resident who had just contacted the village Monday was Nicole Carlisle.

Carlisle, who has lived on Bothwell Street for 13 years, had more than 5 feet of water pour into her basement. She said she lost everything in the basement and agreed with Morris that the village has not done enough.

"The problem is outside our house," she said. "Some solution has to come."

The village has attempted to find solutions in the past. Ottesen said raising sidewalk levels, increasing the capacity for sewer systems and adding more inlets have all helped, but different areas have different challenges.

The village was not the only one under scrutiny for the storm damage.

Councilman Aaron B. Del Mar criticized ComEd for its unreliable service, saying the most recent storm was another example of the far-too-frequent outages Palatine residents suffer through.

He asked the Ottesen and his staff to continue to look into ways to improve the electricity delivery service.

"I know we have talked to (ComEd) in the past about this and I've heard what they have had to say," Del Mar said. "But I just don't buy it, to be honest."

Ottesen said the village is still doing everything it can to help residents, which has cost Palatine roughly $100,000. He said the village is still willing to help residents, including a program that has the village pay for a portion of repairs such as overhead plumbing and sump pumps.

But the best way for residents and the village to help everyone is by filling out a survey of damages on Palatine's website, Ottesen said. If enough losses are reported throughout all of Cook County, Ottesen said the county would qualify for federal disaster relief.

Residents can fill out the survey at http://www.palatine.il.us/

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