Inadequate sewers, topography blamed for Mundelein flood disaster

  • Jorge Morales and his 10-year-old son, Ariel, try to clear drains in front of his home on Lincoln Avenue at West Division Street in Mundelein following July's flood.

      Jorge Morales and his 10-year-old son, Ariel, try to clear drains in front of his home on Lincoln Avenue at West Division Street in Mundelein following July's flood. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/27/2017 9:18 PM

Inadequate storm sewers and topography are to blame for the severe flooding part of Mundelein suffered in July, consultants studying the disaster announced Monday.

To fix the problem, engineers with Iowa-based HR Green Inc. recommend building detention ponds and constructing new sewer lines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The work could cost between $5.9 million and $13.1 million, depending on the extent of the improvements, and it could take years to complete, according to the company's report.

Those estimates don't include the cost of any roadwork that would be needed to install new pipes, nor do they include land costs if purchases are necessary.

Logan Gilbertsen, a project engineer with HR Green, presented the report to the village board Monday night. He called the improvements "an insurance policy" against future flooding.

HR Green's inquiry focused on the houses and businesses near Route 45 and Division Street, a neighborhood that experienced some of the most severe flooding.

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The area is in the watershed for the Seavey drainage ditch, a man-made channel that runs through much of Mundelein and is designed to alleviate flooding.

The area north of Division Street and west of Route 45 is low-lying and prone to flooding due to that topography, according to the report.

Additionally, the existing storm sewers weren't large enough to handle the more than 6 inches of rain that came down July 12.

Worsening the problem, many of the residential backyards in that area lack adequate storm sewer access, the report said.

With the cause of the flooding identified, HR Green then developed possible solutions. The company said the village should:

• Build a 1-acre detention pond at Memorial Park, which is on South Pershing Avenue at Quigley Street.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Build a detention pond at the former U.S. Music Corp. site on Courtland Street.

• Install a second sewer line along Division Street between Pershing and Route 45.

• Install sewer extensions to low-lying residential backyards in the affected area.

The village doesn't own Memorial Park or the U.S. Music property, so land deals would be necessary.

The board took no action Monday night. Future discussions, including a meeting with affected residents, are planned.

HR Green did not investigate complaints about sanitary sewers that backed up during July's flood. That issue is being handled separately.

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