Mundelein residents affected by recent flooding packed the boardroom at village hall Monday night to vent their frustration about what happened to their homes -- and to get some answers.
They also heard Public Works Director Adam Boeche explain that the July 12 rainstorm that led to the flooding produced so much water in such a short amount of time in Mundelein -- nearly 5½ inches in less than seven hours -- that no municipal sewer system would have been able to handle it.
It was, Boeche said, the largest rainfall Mundelein has ever experienced.
But that was little consolation to audience members who suffered property losses in the flood.
"We want something done," said Kurt Link, whose house on Garfield Avenue had a flooded basement. "We want it fixed, and we want it fixed now."
Mundelein was badly hit by the July 12 storm. Streets throughout the village flooded, including sections of major roads like Route 45 and Midlothian Road.
Many residential basements filled with water. Some apartment buildings had to be evacuated because of water rushing inside, too.
Diane O'Brien was among the roughly 70 people who attended Monday's standing-room-only meeting. She said rainwater flowed in from outside with such force that it broke windows, she said.
"I had six feet of water in my basement," she said.
Other people complained that water came up from sewer drains inside their homes. In some cases, the backed-up water contained sewage.
Many of the audience members said they live on the 200 block of North Garfield Avenue and the 200 block of North Lincoln Avenue, streets in the center of town.
There were so many from those two streets, Mayor Steve Lentz said the public works department will analyze the situation there, look for explanations and come up with solutions.
"That's an area where we're going to have to dive in deep and get some answers lickety split," Lentz said.
Mundelein's rainwater eventually flows into the Des Plaines River, which is a few miles to the east. When that river overflowed its banks because of the storm, Boeche said, Mundelein's water had nowhere to go.
Boeche also said residential downspouts and sump pumps that connect to sanitary sewers were responsible for some basement flooding.
Crews responding to the emergency found "a good handful of houses" with those illegal connections, Boeche said.
Lentz asked Boeche if the public works department can try to determine what homes have pumps or downspouts connected to sanitary sewers, and if enforcement and penalties are possible.
But Village Administrator John Lobaito said such illicit hookups weren't entirely to blame.
"That's one of the problems," he said.