Riverside’s village trustees on Aug. 6 voted unanimously to kick start a plan to begin improvements to its sewer system, based on a report submitted in 2014 by the village’s engineering firm, Christopher B. Burke Ltd.

The board approved spending $179,700 to complete design work on two projects that should relieve basement flooding in homes west of First Avenue and in the village’s First Division.

Work on the two projects — known as the Railroad Watershed Outlet and the Scottswood Sewer Separation Plan — is slated to take place in 2016. The estimated cost of construction is $2.4 million, according to a July memo from Burke outlining the scope of the projects.

The Railroad Watershed Outlet project focuses on disconnecting the storm sewer system west of First Avenue from the combined sewer system east of the Des Plaines River.

Even though the sanitary and storm sewers west of the river are already separated, they flow through a single pipe into the combined sewer system just south of the railroad tracks.

The plan is to construct a new storm sewer outfall on the west bank of the Des Plaines River so that storm runoff west of the river will no longer flow into the combined sewer. Currently, there is no outfall on the west bank.

“Between those two lines, it causes tremendous surcharging of the system north of Swan Pond,” said Public Works Director Edward Bailey. “You get all the water from across the river entering the area just south of the Swim Club and it all collects at the north end of Swan Pond.”

The Scottswood Sewer Separation Project calls for the construction of storm sewers that would outfall at three locations into the Des Plaines River. Doing so, will completely separate storm runoff from the sanitary sewers and decrease the chances of the sanitary sewers surcharging and backing up into basements.

All of the village’s combined and sanitary sewer lines flow into the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s intercepting sewers and end up at the Stickney water treatment facility.

Brookfield plans minor sewer repairs

The Brookfield Village Board on July 27 gave the go-ahead to solicit bids for some minor sewer improvements in two areas of the village, after an inspection of those sewer lines in late 2014 detected problems that contributed to street flooding.

In total, about 100 feet of sewer pipe — in sections measuring between 10 and 20 feet long —will be replaced in eight different locations in South Hollywood and in the area bounded by Washington Avenue, Grand Boulevard and Kemman Avenue.

In 2014, the village of Brookfield spent about $45,000 to run cameras through the sewer lines to detect blockages and at-risk sections of pipe. At that time, the pipes were cleared of root blockages and some areas of concern were identified.

Village Engineer Derek Treichel said the pipes to be replaced this fall have not collapsed, but are either cracked or have missing sections. While the village would prefer to repair sewer lines at the same time streets are being resurfaced, Treichel said the eight locations targeted for repair could collapse before the roads are scheduled for replacement.

In all, the work is estimated to cost $61,000, which will be paid for out of the village’s water/sewer fund. Bid packets will go out this month, Treichel said, and a contract ought to be awarded by the village board in September.

Construction would take place over a two- to three-week period in October. 

The work is not expected to cause much disruption to traffic, said Treichel, since each repair area is relatively small.

“Each will take a half day to a day,” said Treichel. “It’ll be minimal disturbance to residents.”

But the work also won’t necessarily dramatically improve street flooding issues that the areas experience during heavy rains, since it won’t increase the capacity of the combined sewer system. Rather, the repairs are meant to prevent a collapse, which would worsen flooding. 

“Because the pipes are not collapsed, residents won’t see a marked improvement,” Treichel said. “This is maintenance.”