Jefferson Park group discusses flooding, as 8 inches of rain falls on parts of city on July 2
by BRIAN NADIG
The more than 8 inches of rain which hit parts of Chicago on July 2 would have been equivalent to about 8 feet of snow, according to city Department of Water Management North District superintendent John Gallagher.
While much of the Northwest Side was spared the highest rain totals on July 2, the West Side was not as fortunate.
“Austin really got hit hard this time,” Gallagher said at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association. Rain fell in excess of 3.5 inches per hour, compared to the city’s average July total of 3.71 inches, he said.
The meeting included several city and regional officials who discussed flooding issues and said these 25-to-100 year storm events appear to be happing more often. The speakers were arranged by Alderman James Gardiner (45th).
Through July 23 in the 45th Ward the city has completed service requests for six flooded viaducts, water in 240 basements and standing water on 47 streets as a result of the July 2 storm, according to the department.
itywide service requests were completed for 71 viaducts, 12,929 basements and 2,006 streets as a result of the storm.
For flooded basement complaints, the department will verify that the main sewer is flowing properly and clean the sewer as necessary. It also contacts the resident to ensure the water has receded and provides information on the Private Sewer Drain Program.
“This program is designed to help alleviate the financial burden homeowners incur when a sewer repair is required in the public way. Typically, homeowners could expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for these types of repairs. Now, the City of Chicago will be responsible for repairs to your private sewer drain in the parkway and in the street,” the department’s website states.
Gallagher said that restrictors, also called “rain blockers,” are located in catch basins and are designed to temporarily hold the water on the street in order to slow down the amount flowing into the sewer. The restrictors are intended to help prevent storm water from backing up into basements.
Gallagher said that residents should wait for a storm to stop before reporting problems of standing water on side streets. He added that the water should eventually dissipate as the sewer system catches up.
Over the years some residents have reported water collecting on the street and approaching their front door due to the restrictors.
At the meeting a representative of the U.S. Small Business Administration reminded residents that low-interest disaster relief loans are available for those negatively impacted by the flooding which occurred between June 29 to July 2. The application deadline is Monday, Oct. 16.
Interest on the loan does not start to accrue until 12 months from the date of the loan disbursement. For more information, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955.
Loan applications also can be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster
A community meeting to discuss the assistance available for flooding victims will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.