Elmhurst neighborhoods have seen no major flooding events since two severe storms caused millions of dollars in damage over the summer of 2010. But subcommittees formed in the wake of those storms have been analyzing the problem ever since.
Those groups are finishing up their work, and soon it will be time for the Public Works and Buildings Committee to make recommendations about how to stop future heavy rains from doing .
But first, city staff has to build a bridge between the committees and construct a priorities list out of the reams of information gathered over the past couple of years—which is no small task.
“How do you eat an elephant?” Public Works Director Mike Hughes asked during the Public Works Committee meeting Monday. “One bite at a time.”
Hughes and his staff will carve the work of the stormwater and sanitary committees into manageable portions during the next few weeks, giving aldermen a plan for how to decide what projects and policy changes are needed.
About 40 residents, who had been divided into five subcommittees, worked since late 2010 to study flooding in the city with the help of data supplied by .
Some projects will likely float to the top of the list, like collecting sewer overflow at the lift station at Saylor and Jackson streets and sending it to a retention basin at the wastewater treatment plant. That project would cost about $5 million.
Other projects will be logistically and politically more complex. Last week, for example, the sanitary that residents be required to eliminate any water flow from their homes into the sewer system before they could sell or make major changes to their properties. The committee suggested the city pay for some or all of this work, depending upon where the home is located.
Jeff Wickenkamp, who served on the Stormwater Committee, recommended aldermen also come up with a budget range as they analyze the priorities list.
“Everybody knows how to do the plumbing,” Sanitary Committee Chairman Matt Sherman told the Public Works Committee. “It's, how do you pay for it?”
Hughes expects to have a first draft of the priorities list for the Public Works Committee to consider at its next meeting on Sept. 10.