Elgin gets $634,000 to help cure flooding issue

Updated 7/22/2011 11:52 AM

The City of Elgin is celebrating news of $634,000 in grant money from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency -- part of $5 million in green infrastructure funding announced Thursday to aid in stormwater management.

Elgin's portion will go toward improving water quality and combating sewer overflow in the Lord Street basin.


Aaron Cosentino, grants coordinator for the city, said Elgin applied in December 2010 for three projects. The one that received funding was the most expensive -- giving Elgin a larger share of the $5 million than every other applicant except Joliet and Danville.

Cosentino said Elgin plans to manage stormwater runoff by creating bioretention swales, which he said are depressed areas that have native plants with large roots that absorb groundwater.

"Because it captures the rain water it slows down the rate at which water goes into the pipes," Cosentino said.

City officials hope this project, combined with one or two alleyways in which water can permeate the pavement, will reduce flooding in the South West Area Neighborhood (SWAN).

In line with the city's sustainability master plan, the project also is expected to improve the water quality in the basin before it makes it to the Fox River.

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The city already retrofitted the basin at McLean Boulevard and Holmes Road earlier this year.

Cosentino said there is no firm timeline for using the money. There are 80 potential sites for 20 to 30 bioswales and 14 options for the alleyway work. The final locations will depend on the support of SWAN homeowners.

"A large part of this being successful depends on help from the neighborhood," Cosentino said.

The IEPA estimates the grant money will result in 250 weeks of work throughout the state by construction and trades workers as well as 130 weeks of work for professional engineers and public works staff.


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