Three years after devastating storm, Mundelein to begin $9M flood-control project

  • The culvert on Seymour Avenue, south of Division Street in Mundelein, will be replaced as part of a $9 million project aimed at reducing flooding in Mundelein's Western Slope neighborhood.

    The culvert on Seymour Avenue, south of Division Street in Mundelein, will be replaced as part of a $9 million project aimed at reducing flooding in Mundelein's Western Slope neighborhood. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein residents try to clear sewer drains after a July 2017 rainstorm caused catastrophic flooding in the Western Slope neighborhood.

    Mundelein residents try to clear sewer drains after a July 2017 rainstorm caused catastrophic flooding in the Western Slope neighborhood. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2017

  • Work will soon begin on a $9 million project to add larger sewer pipes, build an additional retention area and replace culverts to reduce flooding in the Western Slope neighborhood of Mundelein.

    Work will soon begin on a $9 million project to add larger sewer pipes, build an additional retention area and replace culverts to reduce flooding in the Western Slope neighborhood of Mundelein. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/4/2020 9:16 AM

Now that a contractor has been hired for the bulk of the work, a $9 million flood-control project in Mundelein should begin within 45 days, officials said.

Nearly 1 mile of new sewer pipes will be installed beneath Division Street south of the downtown district to take stormwater away from the Western Slope neighborhood, which has experienced severe floods after significant rainstorms for decades.

 

Additionally, culverts on Route 45 and Seymour Avenue will be replaced and a stormwater detention pond will be created on the former U.S. Music factory site, which is just to the east of the neighborhood on Courtland Street.

"It's our big dig project," Trustee Ray Semple said, making reference to a historic, decades-spanning highway and tunnel construction project in Boston.

The village board last week approved a $6.9 million contract with Wadsworth construction company Campanella & Sons for the work.

The board also approved an approximately $813,000 contract with Iowa-based HR Green Inc. to inspect the work and ensure it complies with the village's plans.

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The remainder of the project's estimated total cost, about $1.3 million, will be used to create a park elsewhere on the former U.S. Music property, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.

Pipes are inadequate

The stormwater project was developed after heavy rains caused catastrophic flooding in the Western Slope neighborhood and elsewhere in July 2017, damaging many homes. The neighborhood is west of Route 45 near Division Street.

After the 2017 disaster, frustrated Western Slope residents filled the village boardroom and demanded officials fix the problem.

The board hired HR Green to investigate why the neighborhood floods. The consultants discovered the village's stormwater system is not big enough to handle heavy storms like the one that hit three years ago.

The firm also found rainwater enters the town's sanitary sewers through cracks in pipes and improper customer hookups, which resulted in sewage backups in some houses during the 2017 storm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

HR Green's engineers recommended building detention ponds and constructing new sewer lines to relieve the flooding.

The problems with the town's sanitary sewers are separate and aren't being addressed now.

What will be done

Campanella & Sons will install storm sewers with 6-foot diameters underneath Division Street through the neighborhood to Route 45, providing extra capacity for rainwater, Lobaito said. Sewers with 4½-foot diameters already are underground there and will remain.

Six-foot pipes also will be installed beneath Division on the east side of Route 45 to Seymour Avenue, which will allow water to flow underground to the detention pond to be built on Courtland Street east of Seymour.

In all, more than 2,000 feet of the bigger pipes will be added to Mundelein's sewer system, Lobaito said.

Storm drains and smaller pipes will be installed in backyards and elsewhere, too, Lobaito said.

The work should be completed in fall 2021.

"Now we've got to have our fingers crossed that we don't have an incident like (the 2017 deluge) while we're under construction," Semple said.

How it'll be funded

The entire project initially had a $10 million price tag, but the sum decreased to $9 million once plans were refined, Lobaito said.

Mundelein will borrow money to pay for the effort. Revenue from a stormwater utility fee on water bills and a 3% tax on packaged liquor sales will be used to pay back the loan over 15 years.

Streets will be torn up for the new pipes and culverts to be installed, so officials cautioned that traffic will be disrupted once work begins.

Residents in the construction zones will be notified of pending work through automated phone calls or door hangers, officials said. Construction updates will be posted on the village website, mundelein.org, too.

"I would ask all our residents to please be patient," Mayor Steve Lentz said in a news release. "These temporary inconveniences are all for a very good cause."

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