Tips for Des Plaines residents navigating flooding cleanup

Daily Herald staff report
Updated 4/20/2013 11:15 AM

Floodwater from the Des Plaines River has started to recede in Des Plaines and was at 10.67 feet as of 8:45 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The river crested at 10.92 feet Friday, the highest on record.


As the cleanup begins, garbage collection in the city will be unaffected and resume as normal starting Monday. However, the collection of yard waste has been suspended until further notice.

Public works crews will help ARC Disposal with debris collection, along with the collection of sandbags in flood affected areas. Sandbags should be placed at the curb separate from other debris. Collection will continue until all bags have been recovered. Once the sandbags are removed, the streets will be swept to remove any remaining debris.

Residents are asked to put flood-damaged items out at the curb, but no household waste or electronic waste will be collected.

Residents should be aware that a permit is required for nearly all construction work, even if related to post-flooding repairs. That includes: electrical wiring, panels, conduit, or junction boxes; insulation; wall framing; windows; exterior doors; roofing; siding; fireplaces; boilers; water heaters; generators; fences; decks and stairs; concrete, asphalt, or paver brick driveways, sidewalks, patios, stoops, and stairs; demolitions; extensive interior remodeling work; fire sprinklers; grading changes, retention walls, or other landscaping involving topographical changes; low voltage alarms and phone wiring; mechanical systems (heating and air conditioning); new structures and any structural changes; plumbing (water heaters, etc.); sewer repairs or clean-outs; sheds; shoring and foundation repairs; signs, banners, and tents; swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.

The only work that does not require a permit is removal/replacement of carpet or tile, replacement of drywall (unless insulation also is being replaced), or replacement of cabinetry (unless plumbing or electrical work is involved).

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For more information, call the Community Development Department between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (847) 391-5380.

City officials are urging residents to report flood damages to their insurance companies, and to be careful when choosing contractors to clean up or repair their homes and businesses.

To avoid contractor fraud, residents should use reliable, licensed contractors, ask to see a license, or call the Community Development Department to find out whether the contractor is licensed to work in Des Plaines.

Guidelines to choosing a contractor:

• Obtain a written estimate and read the fine print. Get estimates from several reputable contractors before picking one. A complete contract should clearly state all the work to be performed, all associated costs, a payment schedule, and obligate the contractor to pay for all materials ordered.

• Check references. Call former customers who had similar work done to see if they were satisfied with the work. Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and is bonded. If the contractor is not insured or bonded, the homeowner can be held liable for accidents that occur on the property.


• Never sign a blank contract. If the contractor provides any guarantees, they should be written into the contract, clearly stating what is guaranteed, who is responsible and how long the guarantee is valid. Pay by check. Avoid advance payments and cash payments, if possible. A reasonable down payment is 30 percent of the total cost of the project.

• Make final payments only when work is completed. If permits were required by the city, do not make final payments until all inspections have been passed. Do not sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to satisfaction.

• Require the contractor to provide a Final Waiver of Lien as a receipt for final payment. If materials are delivered to the home by a supply yard, the contractor should also provide a Final Waiver from the supplier. A reputable contractor will not threaten or pressure a homeowner to sign if the job is not finished properly. Homeowners should contact their insurance company for recommendations and to assess the level of repair needed.

• Avoid contractors who don't want to sign a contract or who don't want to obtain a building permit.

Des Plaines Police are warning pedestrians and motorists navigating floodwaters to not remove or go around barricades. Walking in floodwaters also poses health and safety risks.

Motorists are advised to observe detour signs and whenever possible to use major east/west routes such as Touhy Avenue and Northwest Highway.

Road closure updates:

• Eastbound/Westbound Northwest Highway is open

• Oakton Street between River Road and Lee Street

• Big Bend Drive

• 2000 Block Fargo Avenue

• Golf Road between River Road and East River Road

• Lee Street between River Road and Elk Boulevard

• River Road between Golf Road and Perry Street

• River Road between Miner Street and Touhy Avenue

• Central Road between East River Road & River Road

• Algonquin Road between River Road & Lee Street

• Maple from Oakton Street to Riverview Avenue

• Busse Highway at Miner Street to Mason Lane

• Elk Boulevard from Lee Street to Rand Road

• Ballard Road from Rand Road to East River Road

• Rand Road from Golf Road to Dempster Street

• Northbound River Road at Central Road

• Graceland Avenue from Jefferson Street to Rand Road

• Westbound Oakton from Riverside closed (in Park Ridge)

• Westbound Algonquin from Oakton Street closed (in Park Ridge)

Public works crews also have deployed jersey barriers along sections of Des Plaines River Road.

Emergency calls should be directed to 9-1-1. Flooding updates are available on local cable Channel 17 and the city's website, Flooding information and nonemergency calls should be directed to the Des Plaines Emergency Management Agency (EMA) at (847) 391-5396.

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