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Elmwood Park Flood Mitigation Project

February 22nd, 2017

Village of Elmwood Park

APWA 2017 Suburban Branch Project of the Year
APWA 2017 Chicago Metro Chapter Project of the Year
Environment ($25 Million To $75 Million)

For decades, major storm events have caused significant flooding within the Village of Elmwood Park. These damaging flood events originate from both overbank flooding along the Des Plaines River as well as a lack of sewer capacity throughout the Village. Like many older metropolitan communities, the Village is served by a single combined sewer system. As development has occurred throughout the years, these sewers lacked the necessary capacity to convey the increased stormwater runoff created during major rainfall events. The Flood Mitigation Project addressed these major flooding issues utilizing innovative techniques that required extensive coordination with both public and private stakeholders. Due to the sheer magnitude of the project, it could not have been accomplished without the intimate cooperation that existed between key stakeholders. In addition to permitting, the project also required multiple easements and funding sources. The following agencies played a significant role in providing these resources and were integral in its success:

  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Forest Preserve District of Cook County
  • Oak Park Country Club
  • Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
  • Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority (Division of Metra)
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Office of Water Resources
  • North Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District

Elmwood Park_work on holes 4 5 6In addition to affording the 250-acre project area with flood and sewer backup protection, the project provided substantial environmental benefits. The new storm sewer system greatly reduces the amount of stormwater that is treated by the MWRD and thus the amount of energy needed. Furthermore, this diverted storm flow increases the available capacity for the remainder of the combined sewer system, which lessens the occurrences and volumes of combined sewage that is released into the Des Plaines River during storm events.

CBBEL developed the Village’s Flood Mitigation Plan, which includes a separate storm sewer system constructed at strategic locations throughout the Village along with the construction of a 1,500 linear foot flood wall. The new storm sewers vary in size from 12” in diameter to 3-foot by 12-foot box culverts, totaling approximately 40,000 feet in length with a new 17-foot by 13-foot outfall to the Des Plaines River. The floodwall, which prevents Des Plaines River floodwaters from inundating the southwest portion of the Village, was one of the key components of the project. Upon completion, CBBEL was able to assist with preparing a revised FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) which shows the removal of the Des Plaines River 100-year floodplain within the Village, including the removal of 64 homes from the floodplain. The Project also included construction of a 14.6-acre-foot detention reservoir, and a storm water pumping station both of which are located on Oak Park Country Club property. The Village also took the opportunity to update many of its other utilities and infrastructure by replacing all antiquated water mains and sanitary sewer lines while the roads were opened. The project also allowed the Village to reconstruct many of its deteriorated streets as well as update its intersections to be compliant with current ADA standards.

Orion Galey, PE
Senior Project Manager
Construction Department