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posted: 6/13/2013 2:49 PM

Work beginning to combat Glen Ellyn flooding

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  • Part of the retaining wall on a channel that connects Glen Ellyn's stormsewer system with Perry's Pond is now a pile of rubble after April storms damaged stabilization improvements that had been made.

      Part of the retaining wall on a channel that connects Glen Ellyn's stormsewer system with Perry's Pond is now a pile of rubble after April storms damaged stabilization improvements that had been made.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer


Crews will begin making repairs as early as this week along a major passage for stormwater on the north side of Glen Ellyn.

A 200-foot outlet channel on private property at 725 Riford Road was damaged during storms on April 18 when floodwaters toppled a portion of the block retaining wall, disturbed rock and coir fiber rolls intended to prevent erosion, and washed away plantings.

Those items were installed last year as part of a $72,000 channel stabilization project. Village officials said they underestimated the potential for such damage when the improvements were made.

Now they're spending another $60,000 to make emergency repairs to the channel in hopes floodwaters don't damage it again.

The channel connects village stormwater sewers from Lake Ellyn, which acts as a stormwater detention facility for a one-square-mile area near the village's downtown, with Perry's Pond, located behind homes on Riford. The water eventually flows out to the East Branch of the DuPage River.

The neighborhood has been particularly hard hit by floods in September 2008, July 2010 and again in April, and officials from the village and park district have been investigating ways to reduce such occurrences.

The repairs to the channel are just one piece to the flood-control puzzle in Glen Ellyn, and come with the blessing of the homeowner who granted the village an easement on his property last year to try to stabilize the area around the channel.

"They promised to maintain and repair it if there was ever a problem," said Joe Sinopoli. "And now we have a problem and they're trying to repair it as quickly as they can. It appeared to be something that was going to get the job done but it didn't. So hopefully this time around it'll be fixed."

The repair work on the channel could begin as early as this week, and vehicles from Earthwerks Land Improvement & Development Corporation, the Batavia-based contractor hired to do the job, are already on site.

Sinopoli said the stabilization project completed last year was a major improvement over what had been there -- decades of overgrown trees and bushes that "got to the point where you couldn't see the house next door."

But the soil behind the newly installed retaining wall eroded during the floods and the wall tipped over.

"The retaining wall would have been fine if it had some ability to stop the erosion behind it," Sinopoli said. "All the soil behind it washed away."

The latest improvements include building the block retaining wall higher than before and making sure it is better embedded in the soil. To prevent soil erosion, the contractor will install a "geoweb" product and turf reinforcement mat, while also repairing displaced portions of rock and coir rolls and putting in larger boulders. Plants and shrubs also will be replaced.

Officials said about three-quarters of the repairs must be done manually; large earthmoving equipment was used previously.

The repair work was authorized on a 6-0 vote of the village board this week, with competitive bidding waived because of the emergency nature of the work, officials said.

The board, however, authorized spending $29,000 for engineering design and construction oversight services on a 4-2 vote, with some trustees questioning the additional payment to engineering firm Burns & McDonnell when the company was paid $56,000 for designing the 2012 project.

The latest repairs are expected to take two weeks to complete.

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