Libertyville officials, residents consider various aspects of flooding

The water is gone and the messes cleaned but activities related to the mid-July flood continue in Libertyville.

Educational meetings regarding insurance options and dealing with stormwater are planned, for example, and the village just bought a sandbagging machine officials hope never will be needed.

And though all involved agree the intensity and volume of rainfall last month was historic, the possibility it could happen again is on the minds of residents and village officials who want to be ready if there is a next time.

"And while we can all agree that the July 12th storm, described as a 130-year storm, was extraordinary, backups and flooding are not a one-time experience in our neighborhood," Phyllis Dobbs told the village board during the public comment period of its Aug. 8 meeting.

Dobbs lives on the 500 block of Drake Street and created a group that has grown to about 200 houses known as the Burdick Drain Community. Many of the dwellings experienced sanitary and/or stormwater sewer backups in addition to floodwater above foundations, she said, and many became unsafe because of raw sewage, mold or structural damage.

"Many residents, including myself, could not live in their homes for days to several weeks given uninhabitable and unsafe conditions," she told the board.

The group is hosting a session at 7 p.m. Monday at the Libertyville Civic Center, 135 W. Church St. to help the neighborhood consider insurance options.

"It's really an information and Q&A session we've set up," Dobbs said.

The group also plans to present village officials with a list of questions as it pushes for action to alleviate neighborhood problems.

"Not just questions but suggestions," Mayor Terry Weppler said. "Let us know."

The Burdick area was identified in a 2014 village study as a trouble spot during storms. But the option to address a major storm was estimated at $19.6 million and the village deferred on that expense.

However, construction rules for new houses were tightened and other possibilities, such as making financial assistance available to all residents for measures to reduce flooding, are being considered.

"It's still very preliminary but it will be a topic at the next finance (committee) meeting," said Trustee Rich Moras, who chairs the group.

Also underway is a villagewide analysis of how stormwater is handled, although it will take a year to complete.

That study was referenced Aug. 8 as the village board considered a contract to remove silt from the Cambridge North subdivision detention basin. The work would be negligible in terms of water storage, but how these systems interact is of interest.

"That is definitely what we're looking at as far as the master plan," said public works Director Paul Kendzior. Part of that work involves how three basins work in unison and the conveyance between them.

About 400 houses sustained flood damage across the village. An open house followed by a town hall meeting has been scheduled for Sept. 13 to discuss flooding issues and projects to address them.

  Heavy flooding at Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in Libertyville forced several residents out of their houses. Village officials are considering ways to reduce flooding in town. Mark Welsh/
  Harvey Herrington helps build a sandbag wall around his neighbor's house near the Rockland Road bridge in Libertyville during the flooding last month. The village this week bought a sand bagging machine. Gilbert R. Boucher II/
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