Residents get rare tour of Elmhurst Quarry
Massive pit helps mitigate flooding
Hundreds of residents got an up-close look at DuPage's largest flood control facility Saturday when the county opened up the Elmhurst Quarry for a day of tours.
The massive reservoir in Elmhurst is used when too much rain falls on the region. It can store up to 2.7 billion gallons of water.
Saturday's sold-out event, held in partnership with the Elmhurst History Museum, gave more than 500 people a rare opportunity to learn the history of the facility and how it's now used to manage stormwater.
"The Elmhurst Quarry has been a part of DuPage County for several generations, and residents have a very special connection to it, which makes these tours incredibly meaningful," said Jim Zay, chairman of the county's stormwater management committee.
The Elmhurst Quarry was founded in 1883. Crews quarried, and then mined, for limestone at the site for more than 100 years until it was converted into a landfill for clean construction debris, officials said.
The county spent $36 million in 1992 to buy the site -- located between Route 83 and Highland Avenue -- as part of a larger effort to alleviate flood concerns along Salt Creek. An additional $28 million was spent constructing the facility, which was used for the first time in 1996.
The reservoir has two lobes separated by a high rock wall that supports West Avenue.
When the facility is being used during heavy rains, water can be diverted into it to keep Salt Creek inside its banks. The reservoir holds floodwater until water elevations recede enough to pump the water back into the creek.