Arlington Heights pond cleanup should help solve odor problems, officials say
Plans to clean up and expand a detention pond on the north side of Arlington Heights should solve odor problems and help mitigate flooding in the area, village officials said.
Upgrades to the pond, located next to Happiness Park east of Route 53 and north of Palatine Road, is the marquee piece of a $7.2 million stormwater control project in the Greenbrier neighborhood set to kick off next week.
Residents say -- and village officials admit -- the pond hasn't been adequately maintained for decades, all while more and more dirty stormwater creeps into adjacent backyards with every big storm.
They're expected to talk more about the upcoming project during a virtual neighborhood meeting at 7 p.m. today.
"We have a problem, we have a health issue over here," resident Andrew Wallace said at a plan commission meeting last week. "We have a very bad smell. We have the odors. Since 50 years I've been living here and nothing's been done. Nothing in this pond."
Scott Shirley, the village's director of public works, said as part of the upgrades, crews will clean out the pond, removing sediment and overgrowth, and plant natural vegetation.
A new fence will be put up around the pond.
Some residents have pushed for installation of an aerating fountain or bubbler to keep the water circulating and add oxygen to the pond, in addition to the aesthetic benefits.
While Shirley said that's not off the table, he wants to do the big-scale cleanup first.
"That will take care of the odor issues," he said.
Village trustees on Monday approved the necessary zoning changes that will allow for expansion of the pond into an open field to the south.
Officials say water will be able to overflow there during a big storm, but it would recede within 24 hours.
The open area would be maintained with turf and could still be used for passive recreational purposes as it is today.
"Any of that spillover into backyards will be eliminated because it will go into the dry basin area, which right now it cannot do," Shirley said.
The pond project is part of infrastructure improvements in the surrounding neighborhood that include installing larger storm sewer pipes and water mains, followed by repaving streets.
The village board approved a contract for the work Feb. 15, marking the third major flood control project launched by the village in the last two years.
Officials hope to complete the pond upgrades and other improvements near Greenbrier Elementary School before the start of school in August, while other elements are set to be done by October.
"Yes, it's going to be an impact on the neighborhood. I don't want anyone to get the feeling it's not going to be," Shirley said.
"But we think in the end the overall project both from the utility replacement standpoint and the pond itself will be an improvement."