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updated: 3/8/2013 4:00 PM

Pond smell, flooding concern Lombard Dist. 1 candidates

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  • Deborah Messineo-Jones

    Deborah Messineo-Jones

  • Greg Gron

    Greg Gron

  • Dan Whittington

    Dan Whittington


Terrace View Pond on the northwest side of Lombard is the main campaign issue for one District 1 trustee candidate and a concern for all three people seeking the seat in the April 9 election.

Deborah Messineo-Jones says her top priority is creating a more biologically healthy water condition at the pond, which she says stagnates and smells because of an unbalanced pH level and algae growth.

"People don't even call it a pond anymore, and it's very unhealthy," she said during an endorsement interview with the Daily Herald. "I think we took a natural resource in our own backyards and turned it into a dump."

Opposing Messineo-Jones are incumbent Greg Gron and challenger Dan Whittington, who both agree the pond's smell concerns neighbors, but say flooding is a bigger problem.

Aside from a village plan under way to decrease area flooding, Gron and Whittington each offered one idea to improve water storage in the area.

The village is in the process of lowering the pond's water level to increase its capacity during storms and adding relief sewers into the pond from Crystal Avenue to the north. The work will cost roughly $1 million and is expected to begin this season after the village tears down a house at 115 W. Crystal Ave. to allow relief sewer construction.

Gron, 63, who has been District 1 trustee since 2001, said the work at the pond is part of a three-pronged approach to decreasing flooding in the low-lying areas of District 1. The second aspect is improving a stormwater pumping station upriver of the pond near Route 53, and the third is Gron's idea of possibly creating a new retention pond on West Road.

"This is a long-term project that's going to hopefully alleviate the major portion of this (flooding) issue," said Gron, who is retired from the construction industry and owns a pizza and sandwich shop.

Work on the Route 53 pumping station is expected to begin next year. The village already spent $475,000 to buy two houses to make room for the new station, which Gron said will pump water at a much faster rate to decrease backups.

The third part of Gron's plan is being considered with a feasibility study. He said he wants the village to buy a low-lying house for sale at 25 West Road and turn the property into an additional retention area.

As far as the smell at Terrace View Pond, on Greenfield Avenue two blocks west of Main Street, Gron said it is caused by runoff from lawn fertilizer used by nearby residents. He said improving the pumping capacity of the Route 53 station should keep water moving through the pond into the sewer system and decrease the smell from stagnation.

Whittington suggested the village look into installing an aerator similar to devices used in aquariums to create bubbles and keep water moving while it's in the pond. He said increasing the pond's water capacity, building relief sewers and upgrading the Route 53 pumping station are positive steps, but not a complete flooding solution.

"I think this is a good start; I think it's going to help if we don't have a major issue, a major storm," said Whittington, a 58-year-old director of sales for Illinois Business Systems. "If we get a major storm, it's not going to alleviate the problem. It's still going to flood."

The pond is on Lombard Park District property and work is being done with park board permission. Messineo-Jones said those who live in the area want to gain more recreational enjoyment from fishing, but pond water is not a healthy living environment for anything other than algae.

"That can be fixed easily no matter how much water is in the pond, but nobody is doing this," said Messineo-Jones, a 49-year-old biochemical and molecular research assistant. "We're living around a stagnant thing that smells. It's a bad situation in our part of town."

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