Study: Relief sewers may ease Lombard flooding
In discussions of how to possibly reduce flooding in neighborhoods near Lombard's Terrace View Pond, gravity sewers, pumping stations, relief sewers and "lowering the pond" are becoming common words and phrases.
But those engineering terms all boil down to a simpler idea of creating extra space for rain.
"We're trying to give Mother Nature a bigger bath tub for all that water to go into," said Dave Gorman, Lombard's assistant director of public works.
A $52,264 stormwater management study was reviewed this week by the village board's public works committee and will be sent to the Lombard Park District Board of Commissioners before its next meeting Oct. 25.
Out of seven ways to increase the capacity of the pond in northwest Lombard, the preferred option is installing two 24-inch relief sewers feeding water into the pond from Crystal Avenue to the north, and installing pumps to decrease the depth of the pond one foot in dry conditions.
Those changes would provide the most additional water storage, according to the study conducted by Rosemont-based Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.
"We might as well — if we're going to do it — get the most relief we can," said Mike Kuderna, a member of Lombard's public works committee.
The only problem is the project's cost, estimated at $947,873.
When the village began brainstorming ideas, project costs were estimated between $150,000 and $200,000, Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith said.
Since then, the scope has expanded, partially because the Lombard Park District, which owns the land and the pond, requested additional options and their effects on the environment be studied.
"It's only by working collaboratively with the park district that we'll be able to do any modifications to the pond," Goldsmith said.
About $600,000 in village funds can be made available for the project because the village has saved on bids for other work, Goldsmith said. But that still falls more than $300,000 short of what would be needed to install relief sewers and pumps.
Public works committee member John Kaforski suggested installing relief sewers first, then coming back to add pumps when more funding is available.
Some residents at the public works committee meeting thanked the village for commissioning the study.
"It told us on Crystal what we know has been happening for years — our sewers are not working correctly," Lombard resident Julia Stern said.
But neighbors are not unified on the action they'd like the village to take. Resident Dennis Grzesiak, who lives on Berkshire Avenue one street north of Crystal, said he thought lowering the pond's water level would help flood prevention efforts the most.
But Lombard resident Donald Easterbrook, who walks the path around the pond, said he is concerned lowering the pond may negatively affect fish and wildlife. He said he understands the flooding concerns of nearby homeowners, but he doesn't want any changes to diminish the pond's recreational qualities.
Gorman said fishing and recreation should not be harmed by installing pumps to lower the water level. "It won't benefit fishing, but the opinion from (the study) is it won't change it much, either," he said.
Although Lombard staff favor one option of seven proposed in the study, the entire study is being forwarded to the park board for consideration.
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