Storm Flooding Socks Niles, Morton Grove--Again

Olcott Street at Dempster looked like a swamp.  Photo credit: Pam DeFiglio
Olcott Street at Dempster looked like a swamp. Photo credit: Pam DeFiglio

Written by Pam DeFiglio

A heavy early morning storm Wednesday left parts of Niles and Morton Grove with standing water, impassable streets and flooded basements. 

It was deja vu all over again from the April 18 flooding.

The flooding patterns weren't exactly the same, though. 

"Every flood is a little different," said Morton Grove Village Administrator Ryan Van Horne, observing that in April, the river seemed to have more of an effect.
In Morton Grove, Dempster was open Wednesday, while its two feet of water on April 18 closed it to traffic. 

On Wednesday, street flooding was worse to the west, in Park Ridge and Niles, and lighter in Morton Grove and Skokie.

Earlier: Why More Niles Homes Didn't Flood

Skokie Deputy Police Chief Michael Pechter theorized that the April 18 storm may have been a wakeup call to many residents to buy--or maintain-a sump pump, and consequently more sump pumps worked this time.

In Niles, Village Manager Steve Vinezeano said village staff spent much of Wednesday talking with residents who flooded. The village board has approved spending $15 million for the first phase of a stormwater relief program, but it's still in the planning stages.

"This rain was horrible and caused many of our residents to be very frustrated," he wrote in an email to Patch.

"These heavy rains have become the norm and our old sewers cannot handle them at all.

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"And I understand why they are upset. These projects, put in place a year ago with a funding mechanism, are not done yet.  They want to see shovels in the ground now.  Not a year from now when they are engineered.
"This is simply a fight with mother nature and she seems to be winning.  At the end of the day, our goal is to win the war."

Did your home flood? Tell us about it in the comments, below.

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Lois A. MacAdam June 27, 2013 at 09:46 AM
My basement flooded for the first time in many years. We usually get a little seepage but I stood there watching the water come up the drain in the floor and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it until it stopped. Then it took the rest of the day to get it cleaned up. Niles needs to take care of this problem sooner rather than later. It's getting to be known that if you live in Niles you get water. That's part of living here.
Greg Davia June 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM
My basement also flooded with over a foot of water. Usually we I just get little seepage but this was by far the worst flooding I have seen since I lived here. Niles needs to something about this fast.
Sandy June 27, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Niles has been talking about the planning stage since I moved here in 2008 and had my house of 3 months flood with over 2 feet of water. Now, I have a house with a basement I cannot even use or store stuff in. And to top it off, I am underwater on the house (no pun intended) and cannot sell it with the way this town floods. My street floods each time we get a rain and I cannot get out of my driveway. Yesterday, a fire engine tried to get down the street and ended up having to back up since the water was so bad. This is a very sore subject with me, since the 1st flood happened the day after my mother passed away. I lost all paper memories that were stored in the basement from both my mom and dad, who are both up in heaven. Please put this flooding on the priority list.
Bob G June 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Government tried to beat Mother Nature with the Deep Tunnel project. 3 billion later and Mother Nature is still winning. I wouldnt depend on government to fix your problems. Invest in a flood control system if your home gets flooded. They work.
Sandy June 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM
They do work, but are not cheap.
patrick rigney June 27, 2013 at 06:26 PM
I fully endorse Sandy's comments and frustration since moving here early in 2007! Also "under water" with mortgage and with sewer flooded basement for 4th time AND WORSE We Are away on vacation til next Tuesday ! Senior Retiree Pat
Big Al June 28, 2013 at 09:08 AM
the elected officials that were put into power this year can only do one thing, cook. they cannot run a city, never mind make swift decisions about engineering and flooding. yes, a little harsh criticism but this town needs to start making noise about this big problem. one more flood like this and it's a sure thing that "for sale" signs will sky rocket in this town.
John P. June 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM
I must agree with everyone. Since 2008 the administration has been planning and planning and planning while the rest of us have been flooding and flooding and flooding. Money was spent on consultants who told the board that there was a severe flooding problem in Niles. BIG SURPRISE!!!! Five years and still nothing has been done, Best place to raise a family? I doubt it ! Where people count NO WAY !! Time for the administration to get off there backsides and start doing something or maybe we should have a recall of all of them.
Bob G June 29, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Several people on my block had flood control systems put in last year. No they arent cheap but they work. Not much the village can do when 6 inches of rain comes down. I had 2 cracks in my basement foundation walls and got water. I fixed them. Its my house.
Lois A. MacAdam June 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM
I had cracks in my basement, too, when I bought the house over 30 years ago. I had them fixed, like you did, for big bucks because, as you say, it's my house. This water last week had nothing to do with cracks in the foundation. This came up from the drain in my basement floor. Very unusual for my block.
Big Al July 01, 2013 at 11:02 AM
people who get paid to clean out storm drains and sewers are apparently not doing what they get paid big bucks to do. they do however have time to chat and smoke cigarettes while standing around a job site. i have seen it first hand and it ticks me off. next time the camera comes out !
Bob G July 01, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Lois, same on my block. Not much is going to help when there is 6 inches of rain unless you have a way to stop the backflow. Sounds like the village has a plan to subsidize these systems for those that will need it. The village will never be able to stop Mother Nature. The City of Chicago and all of the surrounding suburbs have the same problems. I would look into a system if it were my house and see what kind of help you can get from the village. Oh and Big Al....there is not much to do when they have a giant hose down in the sewer vacuuming...except stare at it.
Jo R. July 02, 2013 at 09:16 PM
In the article about Niles 'rushing' to speed up the Flood Relief Project... first, FINALLY!! second, the article states this as a reason for the initial four-year timeline: "Because two of the projects are close to each other, that (4-yr timeline) would have reduced the inconvenience to residents of having streets closed and detours established." Are you kidding me?!!?? What about the inconvenience of spending days upon days of ridding our homes of dirty, toxic, smelly sewer water - EVERY time it rains. Please STOP with the excuses and get the project DONE!!!!! I moved to Niles in 1989 - that was the year of the 100 yr flood. We didn't flood again until 2008 – when we got the residuals of hurricane Ike. Since then, I have flooded four times - twice this year already!!!! When I moved to Niles 24 years ago, residents were the #1 priority. Are we now just a nuisance to be put on the back burner? Over-shadowed by inane spending - but hey, Milwaukee avenue looks pretty. Like the saying goes, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. You can try to improve Niles’ façade all you like, but if you don’t fix the ‘inside’, residents will get fed up and start leaving, and no one will want to live here because Niles has now been put on the map as a flood zone. You can no longer hide that fact - it's in the newspaper and on the news all the time. And with social media, there are pictures everywhere and being sent to news stations for them to loudly proclaim, "here's another picture from Niles, where they've been hit hard with flooding". I used to love this town… And Bob G-- that program you referred to is now closed, as of June 28. I got my application in on time but heard they ran out of money a while ago. Flood control systems run anywhere between $7000 & $17000, depending on the vendor and 'extras'. The 50% reimbursement or up to $4000 was the only way I could afford the system. Now I can't.


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