Residents get rare tour of Elmhurst Quarry

Massive pit helps mitigate flooding

  • Senior Project Engineer Chris Vonnahme explains some of the inner workings to one of the tour groups. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday, for public tours.

      Senior Project Engineer Chris Vonnahme explains some of the inner workings to one of the tour groups. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday, for public tours. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • A group of people look 80 feet down the vortex to an area where the water is piped under Route 83. The Elmhurst History Museum and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened the Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday for public tours.

      A group of people look 80 feet down the vortex to an area where the water is piped under Route 83. The Elmhurst History Museum and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened the Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday for public tours. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Water is aerated as it cascades down before being reintroduced into Salt Creek. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday for public tours.

      Water is aerated as it cascades down before being reintroduced into Salt Creek. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday for public tours. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • In 2008 the water rose to just 10 feet below this observation deck.

      In 2008 the water rose to just 10 feet below this observation deck. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Chris Fidone of Elmhurst gets a quick cellphone photo during the tour.

      Chris Fidone of Elmhurst gets a quick cellphone photo during the tour. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Water emerges from an underground tunnel that flows under Route 83. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday, for public tours.

      Water emerges from an underground tunnel that flows under Route 83. The Elmhurst History Museum, and DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility Saturday, for public tours. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

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.

0 Comments
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.