Even though I did not attend the “flood” prevention seminar last week, I thoroughly believe that Forest Park needs to do something about this detrimental issue, and quickly. 

Just to clarify some terminology, I find the mentioning of the word “flood” in the numerous articles about this subject to be very misleading.  It is not actually a “flood” or “flooding” that is destroying many of the basements in our town – it is sewer back-up.

Sewer Back-Up occurs when the combined sewer system in the village cannot handle the volume of liquid that gets funneled into it and subsequently reverses direction into residents’ basements.  A combined sewer is a system where all rainfall – rainfall run-off and sewage from homes and businesses – go into the same tunnels underground and then to a wastewater treatment plant.  In a sewer back-up situation, this overflow will literally reverse direction and shoot back up the floor drains in the basement, and then contaminate the basement with sewage and rainwater. 

It is an event that is filthy, disgusting and putrid, to say the least.  After cleaning my basement with my wife for nine hours after the 7-inch rainfall around July 23, I can attest to the odor of human waste, rot, and then the smell of bleach being poured and scrubbed everywhere. 

For this issue, the status quo cannot remain.  In most communities in this country, residents have been denied the basic right to sue the local wastewater districts for this damage.  Many communities such as St. Louis, Milwaukee and Chicago claim governmental immunity for sewer back-ups in most cases, and lawsuits go unanswered.

Secondly, besides being expensive, utilizing backflow preventers and ball stops are, 100 percent, a “screw your neighbor” mentality.  The more blocks, preventers and stops that are put on other houses in your neighborhood, the more sewage and putridity will end up in your basement.  This is pure common sense, as the waste needs somewhere to go when it can’t go down the sewer.  The more backflow preventers on your block there are, the better the chance of having another issue in your basement. Finally, for those who think insurance companies are the answer, you are wrong, too.  Most insurance companies exclude sewer back-up as a covered loss.  If you are one of the lucky ones who has the coverage, they may pay your first claim for a sewer back-up issue, but they will ask you what you plan to do to prevent this the next time a big rain hits Forest Park.  What are you prepared to tell them? 

Personally, I will be forwarding that call to village hall. Find the money now, Mr. Mayor.

Eric Rosenblum
10-Year Proud Resident and Homeowner