City Requests Help in Clearing Street Drains to Avoid Flooding in Coming Days

Although the city of Elmhurst has been clearing street drains with several crews since the last snow fall event, heavy rain will cause additional snow to wash into the street drains.

With rain forecast for Wednesday night and throughout the day on Thursday, the City is requesting help from residents to clear snow and ice from street inlets.

Elmhurst residents are reminded that by clearing street drains of snow near their homes, they can help reduce flooding and drainage problems.  

In preparation for the rain, city crews have cleared snow off of many of the street drains in areas that have had flooding issues in the past, and a patrol will be on duty during the rain to monitor inlets.  

Although the city of Elmhurst has been clearing street drains with several crews since the last snow fall event, heavy rain will cause additional snow to wash into the street drains, and city crews are unable to clear all of the 7,000 inlets without help from residents.
Please use caution when clearing snow and ice from street inlets and do not remove the storm grate.
If you are unsure as to where inlets are located on your street, Elmhurst officials recommend visiting Google Earth and looking up your address. Once your address comes on screen, click on and drag the figure in the top right corner to switch to “Street View” in order to see the make-up of your block.

Credit: City of Elmhurst press release
Me February 18, 2014 at 06:37 PM
I have not seen the city in my neighborhood at all and my street always floods. But what else is new the city is never around when you need them.
Idont Givitout February 18, 2014 at 08:36 PM
The drains would not be covered with snow of the city plowed curb to curb. The street I am on is almost 4 feet from the curb on one side. I am aware sometimes there is a car parked when they do the initial plow, but once again the city should do what we pay them for and run the trucks around again to clear them. Their lack of proper planning and budgeting is not my problem until election day
Dante Laudati February 18, 2014 at 09:57 PM
We don't get curb to curb plowing on our block but every one of us takes the time to make sure the sewers are clear even in the fall when the street is full of leaves. It's easier to clean it than it is to complain about it.
P. Willie February 18, 2014 at 10:03 PM
Is there a map showing the locations of all the drains in a given neighborhood? I'd like to just complain about the city, but honestly I'd rather not flood.
EResidentB February 18, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Agreed Dante Laudati. We know the next few days are warmer and there is rain on the way which could lead to flooding. Just grab a shovel and help others clear the sewer drains so the water has a place to go. Complaining about the snow plowing or announcing that you haven't seen city crews on your street clearing each drain isn't going to solve anything. The city is much larger than just your street block. Remember too that we haven't seen this much snow for a winter in decades.
Zaria Zamek February 18, 2014 at 11:34 PM
Ok @EResidentB and Dante Laudati. I appreciate your opinions and will defend to the death your right to express them. I cannot agree, however. As with the hydrants, I have to comment that 1) we who have the priviledge of living in Elmhurst pay very high taxes. For the payment of these taxes, we expect city services. One of these services is the plowing, cleaning and uncovering of our streets, drains and hydrants. 2) Not to exaggerate, but seriously, where will it end? Today the hydrants and drains, tomorrow it will be pot holes and tree trimming for the electric company. Will you guys be equally as supportive then? Sure, lets go pick up some cold patch from the city and fill the pot holes on our street. The city can't possibly keep up. Trees hitting electric wires? The city will have a truck on the street for three days. Let's all take a turn. The city can't afford a tree service. Let's all help.
EResidentB February 19, 2014 at 12:11 AM
Zaria Zamek please get some facts straight. Comed has their own tree service to trim trees around power lines since the power lines and poles belong to Comed and not the City of Elmhurst.
EResidentB February 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM
Zaria Zamek please also compare your tax bill to surrounding cities. Its not high at all. Actually low.
Zaria Zamek February 19, 2014 at 03:43 AM
Someday, @EResidentB, Comed will stop that tree service and state that the trees actually belong to the city, so the city should pay. Mark my words. But, my mistake for now. Thank you for pointing it out. Also, I have compared my tax bill to other surrounding cities. I disagree. I think our taxes are high. However, whether you think high or low, we pay for services. We should get them. Not have to perform them ourselves.
Steve February 19, 2014 at 04:49 AM
When comparing your tax bill are you looking at the total bill or the city line only. A correct comparison is to compare the city/village line only. Most of any property tax bill is for the local school district and not the city government. ComEd is currently obligated by law to trim trees around trees but only to a certain degree. Some believe that what I legally required is not sufficent tree trimming therefore elmhurst has pursued additional tree trimming services from ComEd.
Joy February 19, 2014 at 08:46 AM
Elmhurst has the 3rd lowest taxes in Dupage County. Only Oak Brook and Naperville are lower. Come on people, you can't clear a drain ? I walk daily and I see all the fire hydrants exposed in my area on 3rd Street west of town. I don't care who cleared them as long as we are safe. I also witnessed several of my neighbors out yesterday clearing the drains. I will check mine today and clear it if necessary . One of the neighbors was actually clearing things with his own truck and plow. Next thing you know people will want the city to mow their lawns for them. We have had an extraordinary about of snow. My street is always plowed promptly I think I can handle chipping in.
Faust February 19, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Not as easy as just clearing. The drain. The Underground Downspouts, as of yesterday, are frozen, and causing backup in a good portion of homeowners gutters. Hopefully that will change soon with the warm weather.
Doremus Jessup February 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM
We don't expect other City Departments to go it alone. We mitigate risk with regards to crime by locking doors and reporting suspicious activity to the police, we mitigate danger with regards to fires by being responsible with flammable material, installing fire/smoke alarms. The DPW has had a rough winter here, I read that they were averaging one water main break a day in January and their supervisor described everyone as being tired. We help ourselves when we help out other departments, why should we draw a line at the Department of Public Works? As others have rightly pointed out here that we do not pay as high of taxes as other municipalities why not pitch in a little?
5DecadesInElmhurs February 19, 2014 at 11:33 AM
It never ceases to amaze me, how people can be so ignorant as to how City Government operates and how the taxes are spent. How is it possible that anyone cannot understand that by having the City clean ALL the catch basins, or dig out ALL the fire hydrants, it will cost MORE money (aka MORE taxes) to perform those services. Also, when it snows like this year, most of the Public Works guys are already out doing snow maintenance. So, if you want the City to do all those tasks, they will either have to put on more guys or hire a contractor. That will mean additional cost for the City. On the other hand, if the spoiled, self-absorbed, lazy whiners, do the digging, then the City does not have to come up with additional funds. And, just how hard is it to clean out a catch basin, or to dig out the fire hydrant? Will that 5-10 minutes of good citizenship spoil your wine and clean fingernail lifestyle? Tell me this.... Do you really think a great community is built by passing the buck, or does it thrive when its own citizens step up and get things done?
5DecadesInElmhurs February 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM
As far as taxes go, my biggest problem is how the City keeps hiring people on the administrative level. Too many cooks keep churning through funds that should instead be used for flood control or road repair. I would much rather see a few more Public Works guys (the ones who are out all day and night like the ones who fix the water mains in zero degree weather) than see a new face at City Hall. Can anyone explain to me why Alderman need a pension? How much is that costing us?
RobertAWilson February 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM
5Decades, while I agree with much of what you've said, you are mistaken about Elmhurst aldermen--they don't get pensions and are not eligible for pensions. Only 2 city elected positions are eligible: mayor and city clerk.
5DecadesInElmhurs February 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM
RobertA.Wilson..... I stand corrected!
Faust February 19, 2014 at 03:55 PM
@5decades. If you've been around for 5 decades that puts your comfortably at 60yo or beyond. If you disdain wealth that much, I pity the fool who shares your bread and wine. That's some unhealthy saltiness and a pretty miserable view on the community. My guess, is 90% of the people reading this could dig circles around you, when it comes to DIY flood resolution.
5DecadesInElmhurs February 19, 2014 at 05:08 PM
Faust - I chided the lazy and that makes me the bad guy? Seems like you are the touchy one if you have to defend lazy people who cannot (or will not) perform one of the simplest neighborhood chores. There ain't nothing wrong with wealth as long as you stay grounded (and be a member of the community as opposed to wearing the town name as an ornament). As far as helping my neighbors goes.... I do plenty of that which includes helping with shoveling, picking up trash, removing tree limbs from the street, as well as a number of other activities that includes the catch basins and hydrants. Yes, I do expect Elmhurst residents to step up and do alot more for their neighborhoods, and yes, I'm fed up with the people who will not leave the cocoon in order to perform ten minutes of community service. So, "Faust" tell us all why my position is untenable?
Idont Givitout February 19, 2014 at 05:43 PM
But.... As I pointed out before, the city rakes in over 100 MILLION of our tax dollars currently and what do we have to show for it? I lived in an unincorporated area before with almost an acre of land. The streets were ALWAYS promptly plowed and salted. I had fire protection and a reasonable facsimile of police coverage and also had a nice park system. My children went to good schools and graduated tops in their class, and all that for about 1/2 the tax. My youngest child is finishing his Masters at UMD in only five years...... now if the city has ten trucks with plow blades (I don't really know how many), and the city has about 145 miles of streets to plow with both sides 290 miles, it should require each truck to plow only 29 miles of street total. This should take maybe one hour to do at no additional labor cost since they are already on the clock, It does not snow every day. Consequently the city should have been able to clean up the streets on their own by now. I do not need to be paying the public works people to be sitting around doing nothing or rather being non-productive. I don't let that happen at my company the city shouldn't either. Yes fuel cost money as does wear and tear on the equipment but responsible planning takes care of that. So once again let the city do what we pay them to do! it has nothing to do with me helping do my part, I did, I paid taxes!!!!!
Zaria Zamek February 19, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Wow you people are getting nasty. What is wrong with a good debate here? Does it necessitate name calling? I don't call you people names. Does it necessitate being mean and nasty on purpose? @5DecadesInElmhurs - "if the spoiled, self-absorbed, lazy whiners" a direct quote from you. You don't know me personally. I take offense to what you wrote. You have no idea what I am or how I act. Just because I have a different opinion than you do, you think you can insult me? If this is the kind of reaction Elmhurst residents give each other, then that is a sad thing. I don't need insults and name calling. I don't do that, and I don't expect it done to me. Life is stressful enough.
WLA February 19, 2014 at 08:05 PM
If you aren't happy with how your tax dollars are being spent by the city take it up with your alderman, but the snow is melting now, tomorrow will be worse. If you want to wait and have public works clean your street drains so you get you money's worth go ahead. I'm going to make sure my drain is clear, just like I make sure my hydrant is clear when it snows. I also check on elderly neighbors when the weather is hot or there is no power, you know the stuff that makes you a responsible citizen.
Me February 19, 2014 at 08:37 PM
I went out today and yesterday and cleared my drains and chopped away at ice like so many other homeowners. I did this because I care about my home, street, neighborhood and community. I saw many people around town doing that same, so thank you to everyone that cares and is trying to keep our town clean, clear and safe. Some of the anger that comes from so many residents is the lack of service and trust we get when we do have problems. I have said time and time again I have lived in my home for 23 years, never had water in my back yard or basement until the last two big floods. I am worried about the rain coming I still have no carpet in my basement and its almost a year, because of fear and waiting to see what happens when it rains again. With the old drains (as this town is old) and the new homes popping up everywhere it is affecting everyone. The city refuses to see that!
WLA February 19, 2014 at 09:15 PM
You are right. The city has not been responsible in updating sewer systems and flood control while allowing the construction of homes that tax the aging infrastructure even more.
Faust February 19, 2014 at 09:19 PM
@5decades. You sound like a bright guy, but your bedside manner just isn't going to make you a ton of fans. When talking about a community issue and tossing around the word "ignorant" when referencing a group as a whole, you aren't going to be a crowd favorite. Glad you have accomplishments and accolades, and I mean that. It's just probably not the forum to mention them. Let me know if you have any advice on unfreezing down spouts (underground) because my drains, on every corner of my house, are up churning water and it's resulting in flooding around the house. My 4 hours of labor tonight didn't seem to help, although I think I did discover the person who built my fence, jammed one of the spouts about a foot into the ground and water is everywhere. That can't be good. And my back is effing killing me.
Idont Givitout February 19, 2014 at 10:20 PM
WLA, I'm high ground. Apart from some seepage issues which the city won't do squat about I'm good. I do need a new roof this year but that's my problem. As far as fire prevention, this home is safe too. I proactively inspect it periodically to ensure that physically there are no problems. Wiring good too although I would like to rewire and improve the amp service. Today's electric needs are different than those from the 1950's. Same with waste sewerage, periodic maintenance keeps it problem free. So other than a lightning strike i'm good and insurance covers that. Considering an volcano coverage clause too recently (have a friend that has it and well just to be sure!!). When I lived in an unincorporated area I did have flood issues with ground water when it rained hard. there I was low ground and routinely had several inches of water pooling in both my front and rear yards. We could have had boat races at times!! I installed sufficient sump system that I could keep ahead of the incoming water even in the worst as long as I had electric. I had a big generator for those situations. so as you can see I am prepared for myself and anything I miss well that is on me not the city or anyone else. If I cared about staying in Elmhurst I would take these issues up with the city, but I look forward to moving out somewhere with land again. My last residence I had the yard was as big as the block I reside on now. Too close. ...... so if the city had been proactive in their JOB, they would not need to ask the residents to bail them out. BTW I too would be happy to help out for the good of the community, but it seems it is a one way street!................. Faust, depending on how deep the drain tiles are you could pour salt, I would recommend the calcium chloride, down the drain. That would help melt the blockage if it were near the surface. If the tiles are shallow it may be the soil that is froze and not much to do there that won't take just as long. Perhaps the easiest would be disconnect and put a downspout extension leading away from your foundation.
Zaria Zamek February 19, 2014 at 10:39 PM
@WLA wow we have something in common! I too check on elderly neighbors in bad weather and during power outages etc. In spite of my opinions on city responsibilities, I am a good neighbor. And you are absolutely correct on the tax dollars/alderman issue. @Faust thank you. @5Decades one, really? The town name as an ornament? Are you being serious here or sarcastic? Two, your position may not be so untenable, but your presentation stinks.


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