Within a week of the Brookfield Village Board approving setting aside $100,000 annually to help residents fund flood prevention systems in their homes, staff had passed out about 30 application packets and expect work to begin on some of those projects sometime this month.
Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral said Friday that two completed applications have already come back to the village. The time for approvals “should be relatively quickly,” said Sbiral. “We’ll process them as they come in, and within several days we should be able to get the permits turned around.”
One thing that ought to help residents move their applications along was a decision by the village to drop a request for obtaining three quotes for contractors. In addition, at least for now, the village will forego compiling a preferred vendor list. Quotes from any of the 88 plumbing firms licensed to do the work in Brookfield will be accepted, Sbiral said.
“The timeline on getting a preferred vendor list done was too far out,” Sbiral said. “We wanted to get this program going.”
Under Brookfield’s new program, the village will pay up to 50-percent of the cost, up to a maximum dollar amount of $5,000, for residents to install a flood-control system in their homes.
Residents can choose to install a backflow prevention valve, a backflow prevention valve with a bypass pump or overhead sewers. All of those systems prevent the backup of sewage into basements during heavy rain events that overwhelm the combined sewer system.
The village’s portion of the funding will be drawn from its water/sewer enterprise fund. Revenue for that fund comes through water and sewer charges paid by residential and commercial water customers in Brookfield.
The village’s new flood mitigation program, which was approved unanimously by village trustees on June 24, is just part of the village’s new plan to attack flooding. The village is also putting together a study of what it would take to build a pumping station near the intersection of Washington and Prairie avenues, where storm runoff tends to flood the area.
The pump would eject storm water directly into Salt Creek to relieve the pressure on the storm sewer system in heavy rain events where the river has gone higher than the sewer outfall but has not yet overtopped the banks of the river.
Such a pumping station is estimated to cost about $500,000. The village is hoping to get a grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to help fund the project, but may decide simply to fund the pumping station from water/sewer fund reserves.
Village Engineer Derek Treichel said the engineering study for the pumping station will be done by August and then presented to the village board, which has to decide whether to wait for grant funding or simply bite the bullet and put the cost in the 2014 budget.
Village President Kit Ketchmark asked residents frustrated with the repeated flooding in and near their homes for patience and also asked them to be realistic.
“There are other things we need to look at and should look at, and we will, but we have to start somewhere on this,” Ketchmark said. “Is this going to be the solution for everyone? No, but it’s going to help a lot of households with that. So it’s a start.
“When you get seven-and-a-half inches of rain in 18 hours after having all that rain the preceding two weeks, it’s going to be tough to build things to accommodate that.”