Flooding will probably never completely become a thing of the past in Mount Prospect.
But the Levee 37 project along the Des Plaines River and the basins and pumping station at Heritage Park in Wheeling near Buffalo Creek promise to go a long way toward mitigating a constant source of irritation for village residents who live near the river.
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On Tuesday, some village board members joined staff to examine progress on both projects, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The group first stopped in Prospect Heights along Des Plaines River Road near East Old Willow Road by the wall being constructed to complete Levee 37. A 600-foot gap remains to be filled.
Village Engineer Jeffrey Wulbecker said goal was to be done by Nov. 1, but that date may be unrealistic as the project got off to a slow start due to the need to obtain permits.
"For the village's purposes, the gap is closed, because of the temporary barrier that the contractor has built to protect his work," said Public Works Director Sean Dorsey. "It will solve the problems associated with the river overflowing and closing River Road" and flowing into the surrounding neighborhood.
"We won't have to sandbag anymore," said Assistant Village Manager David Strahl.
Dorsey said there could still be a flooding risk from sewer backups if there is heavy rain when the river is up and the sewer outfalls are closed.
The Levee 37 project cost was about $30 million, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding 65 percent of the project's cost, while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was responsible for 35 percent. Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights equally shared the cost to obtain the land rights at a cost of $560,000.
The group also toured Heritage Park, to view the $30 million project -- paid mainly by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago -- to provide stormwater storage.
The project takes water from Buffalo Creek during a flood event and stores it in two basins, one 40 feet deep and another 30 feet deep. A 48-inch diameter pipe equalizes the flow between the two basins. A pump station will return the water to the creek when the flooding subsides.
"Buffalo Creek is tributary to the Des Plaines River," Wulbecker said. "By holding water back in the compensatory storage areas it reduces the amount of water that Buffalo Creek delivers to the Des Plaines River during a flooding event and thus compensates for the volume of water displaced by Levee 37, resulting in no increase to the flood level during a flooding event."