Between Thursday, May 14th and Sunday, May 17th, the Village of Lombard received more than 7.3 inches of rainfall. To put this into perspective, Lombard’s average rainfall for the entire month of May is 3.38 inches. As a result of extreme rainfall, saturated grounds, and a high river level, stormwater impacted areas throughout the Village.
Throughout the storm event, Lombard Public Works Crews responded to more than 60 calls for flooding and worked around the clock to monitor streets and clear debris from flooded areas. Due to the excessive amounts of rainfall, the storm event resulted in backyard and street flooding. Lombard’s pumping system operation is largely controlled by the elevation of the East Branch of the DuPage River. All of Lombard’s pumping systems operated at full capacity. Pumping systems throughout the Village will continue to pump at full capacity until conditions improve.
During extreme storm events, flood water fills the Village’s underground system. In those moments, street flooding is to be expected. This space is designed to be used as stormwater detention, in efforts to relieve homes of flooding by redirecting water into the streets, which then drains into the detention basins. This can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour based on the amount of water. Motorists are cautioned to avoid all flooded streets and not attempt to drive through standing water. Lombard Police and Fire are also reminding parents that allowing children to play in floodwater is extremely dangerous.
Per the Village Board Policy, the event did not rise to the level of a localized or Village-wide response. Large items weighing less than 100 pounds and additional refuse will be collected provided a refuse sticker is attached for each 50 pounds. For more information on where to purchase stickers, please visit www.villageoflombard.org/solidwaste.
Public Works Improvements Making Lombard More Resilient
Lombard continues to invest in its infrastructure and key capital improvements over the last decade allow Lombard to better weather storms.
- Increased capacity for storm water. Pond modifications have gained a total of 26 acre-feet for flood waters: Terrace View Pond (13 ac-ft), Vista Pond (6.5 ac-ft), Morris Pond (4 ac-ft), and Finley/Charles Lane Pond (2.6 ac-ft). This volume is equivalent to filling a football field 24 feet deep!
- Installing backup generators at all sanitary lift stations. Electrical outages no longer pose a problem to keep our 14 sanitary pumping stations operable thanks to permanent generators that now operate automatically, with remote monitoring. Previously, crews worked 24-7 to rotate two trailer-mounted generators between stations without power.
- Increasing storm water pumping capacity. The over 40-year-old storm water pump station at Crescent Avenue and the East Branch DuPage River has recently been replaced with a new station at Route 53 and Phillips Court. In doing so, the pumping rate has increased from 50 to 170 cubic feet per second until the river reaches its 10-yr flood stage, wherein the rate reduces to match the former rate in order not to worsen flooding along the river itself. As a result, the storm sewers flow a bit more freely, further reducing flooding in the northwest part of the Village.
- Improving underground utilities. Underground pipes typically have a service life between 50 and 100 years. Lombard’s oldest water mains and sewers are in this range. Water mains require replacement or lining in order to limit the frequency of breaks, which is worst in winter since cold water makes the pipes more brittle. The Village has been replacing water mains as part of neighborhood reconstruction projects. In addition, over two miles of water mains under on Roosevelt Road and sanitary sewers through back yards have been lined in the past few years. This ongoing work will ensure our pipe networks will continue to serve future generations. The Village routinely lines sanitary and storm sewers to extend the useful life of the pipe.
- Assisting private property water issues. Three reimbursement programs have contributed funds for residents to alleviate private property water problems. The Backyard Drainage Grant has helped over 50 homeowner groups to drain standing water, thereby reducing property damages and mosquito breeding sites. The Overhead Sewer Reimbursement Program has assisted nearly 400 residents to protect themselves from sewer backups. And the Clear Water Disconnect Grant has contributed to dozens of homes removing sump pumps and downspouts from sanitary sewers. These programs assist property owners in addressing localized storm related issues with a portion of the improvements funded by the Village.