Chicago residents blaming city for flooding problems
June 28, 2007 (WLS) -- Summer storms have flooded hundreds of basements on the Chicago's North Side, and many residents are blaming the city.
Homeowners say the city isn't doing enough when heavy storms blow in. But, the city says it installed rain blockers designed to restrict the flow of water into the sewer system and help prevent flooding.
The city's Office of Emergency Management addressed the problem Thursday afternoon, saying the problems are not their fault. They say there's plenty that homeowners can do to prevent flooded basements.
It rained close to four inches in less than an hour. For several residents, it's going to take a lot longer than that to clean up. Tuesday's torrential downpour left hundreds of residents' basements under feet of water.
"The city has literally put me in financial ruin," said Trish Tuel, owner of a flooded home.
"They know they need to do something, and they have not done it," said another resident.
City officials say the key to keeping water out of basements is keeping it out of the sewers, and the city says it is doing that with its relatively new rain blocker system. The system is supposed to prevent the water from backing up in the sewers. But city officials say residents must do their part, as well.
Without homer owners and businesses being engaged in this and reducing the flow into the system, it's hard for the city to do it alone.
"Residents can begin by disconnecting their downspouts," said Commissioner Sadhu Johnston of the Chicago Dept. of Environment. "By disconnecting the downspout, you're taking however many gallons there may be, and instead of putting it into the storm sewer system which is already overflowing which then creates a surge and putting it into your basement, you're putting it into your backyard."
The city says the system would help by directing the water into rain barrels. But, even Tuesday's rainfall may have been too much for anyone to handle.
"I think you're going to see flooding, even if everyone had done that. You're going to see flooding when you get that kind of storm," Johnston said.
The city says the rain barrels cost over $100 each, but they're going to be selling them at a discount for $40 each on a couple of dates in July. For more information, contact the city or call 311.
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