The hot, wet month of July is finally history, but only after securing itself a spot in Chicago’s record book.
While Chicagoans experienced brutal heat and the heaviest rainfall in more than 100 years, their suburban neighbors were also hit with hot weather and persistent storming.
As for the rain, there were stories, last month, of suburbanites who went down to their basements only to find them inundated.
Home flooding is a touchy topic in Forest Park that divides folks.
Some homeowners fault a 2009 village construction project – if changing catch basins can be called construction, Mayor Anthony Calderone noted – as the cause of home flooding. To others this is finger-pointing – they believe that basements flood and it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to tend to his or her property, not the village.
There are also those who are tired of being flooded, and only want to understand the problem and how to remedy it.
Calderone and those close to him get touchy whenever the issue is raised. They quickly remind folks that the village has a 100-plus-year-old, combined sewer system. Sometimes it doesn’t have the capacity to hold both rainwater and sewage. The mayor also recently advised folks to refer to a lengthy climate-change report as proof that increased rainfall attributed to the excessive flooding in town.
This is likely the case, and it’s just one more reason that the village needs to seriously consider how it is going to deal with its outdated sewers. Cost estimates to separate the system range between $60 million and $90 million – money the village doesn’t have and likely can’t immediately summon.
But, as the global climate changes, local rainfall could also increase. That said, this is an issue that needs to be thoroughly discussed and, eventually, comprehensively dealt with.
We don’t expect village hall to have all the answers right now. We’re just advocating open and continued talks. It would be unwise to eternally kick the can down the road, and submit to a love-it-or-leave-it philosophy.
“Here’s the situation: Forest Park, along with many other communities, are stuck with what we have [sewer system] right now….We cannot magically make that into something that it’s not,” said Calderone, on the topic. When asked about a possible solution, the mayor said that homeowners need to install flood prevention systems.
“That’s why they have [installation] contractors,” he said.
This is a good idea, but not everyone can afford flood prevention systems that cost several thousand dollars. Furthermore, even if all homeowners purchased and installed these systems, the village still has a glaring problem that it eventually needs to deal with.
It would also be disingenuous to say the village is being idle – public works crews are quick to the scene of flooded homes to help distressed residents and equipment was recently purchased to monitor sewers and remove backup.
Sooner or later, though, permanent solutions to this problem need to be discussed.