Brookfield trustees in two weeks are expected to approve a village-wide flood mitigation program where local government would set aside $100,000 annually to help homeowners pay to install such devices as overhead sewers and backflow prevention valves to stem basement flooding during periods of hard rainfall.
The program was announced to a packed council room of about 90 residents on Monday night. While some appeared interested in the proposals laid out by officials, others remained unimpressed or simply didn’t believe officials knew what they were doing.
“I honestly feel like this meeting was just to appease us,” said David Curelo, a resident of the 3600 block of Forest Avenue, whose home was flooded in April when Salt Creek overtopped its banks.
“I don’t think any of these options are viable,” Curelo said.
At their meeting on June 24, trustees are also expected to pass a new law that would require every homeowner in the village to disconnect downspouts from draining into the combined sewer system, which increases storm water runoff and leads to backups into homes.
Meanwhile, the village is considering, funded either through a grant or village’s own funds, to build a pumping station near the intersection of Washington and Prairie avenues. Such as pumping station, which would cost an estimated $500,000, would serve to eject storm water into Salt Creek in instances where the creek has not yet overtopped its banks.
Pumping the storm water into the creek, according to the village’s engineering firm, would help prevent the storm sewers in the area from surcharging and flooding the streets and homes of residents living in low-lying areas such as the 3500 block of Forest Avenue and the area near the Washington/Prairie intersection.
In addition, the village is also interested in obtaining grant funding from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to buy about 20 residential properties in the flood plain along the 3500 and 3600 blocks of Forest Avenue.
Whether the village will ever be considered for such grant funding is unknown. Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said he considered the proposal to buy homes in order to demolish them and create a storm water retention area is iffy at best.
“The village has no money to do it, so it may not be a viable option,” Ginex said.
But village officials admitted that while the flood-mitigation options they presented could help homeowners prevent sewage backups during heavy rains, they could do little about instances where the river simply overflowed.
Some residents demanded that the village extend or build up the floodwall that runs along a portion of Salt Creek south from Washington Avenue. They were frustrated by officials’ insistence that while such a plan was possible, it wasn’t probable given the cost and scope of such a project.
The MWRD’s Lower Des Plaines River watershed study, completed in February 2011, includes a proposal to build flood walls totaling about 7,500 feet in three locations in Brookfield along Salt Creek — north of 31st Street, from Washington Avenue to Brookfield Avenue and near the Arden and Southview intersection.
It also includes a reservoir on the west bank of the creek that would be built over large part of Kiwanis Park. The total price tag for the improvements just about $40 million and the MWRD has not shown an interest in moving ahead with the project at this time.
According to Village Engineer Derek Treichel, the village can’t unilaterally improve the flood wall it already has. Any improvements would need the blessing of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, he said. The present berm along Forest Avenue, built many years ago, does not appear to have been built with any permits. It is essentially a mound of sandbags covered with earth.
If the village’s flood-mitigation program is approved later this month, homeowners who wish to participate can do so on a first come, first served basis. The village has pledged to pay 50 percent of the cost of installing flood control measures at private homes up to $5,000 for overhead sewers, $4,000 for a backflow prevention valve with a bypass pump and $3,000 for the backflow prevention valve alone.
Because the village plans on setting aside $100,000 annually, that money could be used up pretty quickly. The money for the program would come from the village’s water and sewer enterprise fund.