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5 Inches of Rain Leaves Wilmette Streets Flooded

Sewers on both sides of the village are receiving water, but they are running at full capacity.

Nearly 5 inches of rain fell on Wilmette between Wednesday and Thursday morning, leaving flooded streets around town, according to the village.

The storm water pumping station that serves residents west of Ridge Road ran at full capacity throughout the storm overnight, and continues to receive water, according to a press release on the village website.

"However, the intensity of the rain, particularly overnight and early this morning have surcharged the storm sewers – meaning that they are flowing all the storm water that they can transport but there is more water than their capacity," the release said. "Surface flooding, street flooding and overland flooding, will begin to recede as soon as rainfall rates diminish."

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District opened the locks to Wilmette Harbor early Thursday morning to relieve flooding on the east side of the village, according to the release. Sewers on that side of town are also surcharged.

Sewers on both sides of town are flowing and receiving water, although they are working at full capacity, according to the release. 

"If possible, please avoid traveling," the release said. "If you must travel, particularly if driving to other communities, please exercise extreme caution when approaching areas where water covers the road. Do not attempt to drive through standing water."

Residents with power outages are advised to call 1-800-EDISON-1.

Renee April 18, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Streets and Sanitation were out sweeping streets of leaves yesterday. It was probably done proactively to reduce clogging of drains. If so, great going! If it was lucky timing, let's do it on purpose in the future based on forecasted torrential rain.
Barbara April 18, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Barb Why do they wait until everyone's basements have flooded beyond repair before they open the locks? This happens everytime there is a huge rain--it would be great if they could be proactive on this and save all of the damage from so many households.
Skokie1 April 18, 2013 at 09:45 PM
While its good to try and avoid sending all the water into the lake via opening the lock, who said they opened the locks? There is no lock to open right now! I was by there at 5:30am, and the water was rushing over the sidewalk on the side, and into the harbor side. Their construction project is still under construction. I would like to honestly know if their inability to open the lock is partly responsible for the flooding. I'm sure they are not going to admit it if this is the case.
Greenwood April 19, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Opening the locks releases raw sewage into Lake Michigan. While the intake cribs are quite a ways out, and they increase the chlorine in the drinking water after they open locks, they're not going to do it just to save some basement rec rooms. If you want to be proactive, take steps to keep water out of your basement.
Mark April 22, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Glad you posted this. I saw a claim that the locks were opened at 1AM - see the caption in this photo: http://wilmette.suntimes.com/news/19572393-418/wilmette-copes-with-deluge.html Honestly, it looks like the locks are still closed in the photo too.
Mark April 22, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Your suggestion to be more "proactive" to keep water out of the basement shows your ignorance of the problem. I have taken every possible step to keep water out of my basement - my sump pump effectively removes everything that comes down from the window wells and into the drainage tile, spitting the water back into my yard (not into the sewer, which would exacerbate the problem). I have no leaks in the walls. Foundation has been repaired, and is bulletproof. The only way I get water in my basement is backup through the sewers. The village will not allow us to install check valves in the outbound sewer lines because it would put too much pressure on the sewer system. Please tell me what I can do to be more proactive, and I will do it. Long story short, the sewer systems are mismanaged in the case of heavy rains. I have had to replace the carpeting in my basement due to sewer backup twice in the last 3 years and it is only due to sewer backups.
Wilmette Resident April 23, 2013 at 02:35 AM
Mark, do you have an overhead sewer system in your basement and if so, why is that not working for you? We got some water in our basement this recent rainfall and are trying to figure out the limitations of different solutions.
Mark April 23, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Gwyn - Our house was built in the 50s and does not have an overhead sewer system. Some of our friends have more recent construction with overhead sewers and they have not had any issues (from the sewer). If you are like us, your current sewer lines are under/in the the foundation of your house, and switching to an overhead sewer system would be cost prohibitive.
Wilmette Resident April 23, 2013 at 04:22 AM
Thanks so much -- we do have an overhead sewer system now along with exterior drain tile and a sump pump but did get some water in our basement -- very minimal but we are trying to figure out how to improve our system. We think our exterior drain tile might be blocked in some way and are going to have someone "camera the lines" to see what's going on . We also are not sure if our drain tile is all going to our sump pump, which we think it is supposed to do. We think a part of it might be going into the storm water pipes (??) -- but hopefully the camera will tell us exactly what's going on. Many thanks again for your comments and info -- we are new to Wilmette so are trying to understand the ins and outs of the flooding problems.

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