Mountain of flood damage: A pile of flood-destroyed treasures is stacked up behind the Forest Park Public Works building. Residents last week discarded three times as much garbage as the previous week, said an Allied Waste representative.Courtesy John Doss

While there was no loss of life like in the Boston Marathon bombings, the flooding two weeks ago in Forest Park created a massive mess for home owners to clean up.

Mother Nature didn’t even spare one of our village’s commissioners. “I took water in all my properties,” reported Mark Hosty, Commissioner of Accounts and Finance. “My wife Jenny woke me up at 6:00 am to tell me we had four inches in the basement. By the time I got down there, it was up to six inches. My sump pump had jammed. I got it going, but the damage was done. We lost a nice couch, luggage and assorted other things.”

He added, “I cleaned from 6:00 am till 11:30 at night, and woke up the next day to snow. Only in Chicago!”

Hosty wasn’t the only person stressed out by the flooding. “Our drivers have been under a lot of stress,” said Greg Miedema, a 37 year veteran of the garbage business and the Route Supervisor for Allied Waste/Republic Services, a company which services all of residential Forest Park. “They are out there working twelve hours a day, six days a week.”

“You name it,” was his comment on what Allied Waste has been hauling away. “Whatever is in a house—construction materials [like drywall], furniture carpets, anything that got damaged.”

“Towards the spring,” he said, “everyone is cleaning up, so normally April is a heavy month. But this year we hauled more than usual. Our tonnage almost tripled over the week before the flood.”

John Doss, who has worked for the Village of Forest Park for 33 years and is currently the Director of Public Works, said that his crew started hauling discarded items on the Monday after the flooding began and created a mountain of garbage behind the public works garage. “We hauled carpet, furniture, clothes, books, toys, beds and electronics.” Allied does not dispose of electronics.”

As bad as the flooding was this year, it did not cause as much damage to homeowners as the flooding in 2010. “Not even close,” said Doss.

“The flood in July of 2010 was worse,” recalled Richard Van der Molen from Allied Waste. “The week was memorable. We collected 313 tons of garbage in the western suburbs we service compared to 70 tons the week before. We hadn’t finished the pickup in Maywood the day before, and we had to bring 60 trucks into Maywood that Saturday to finish the pickup.”

One factor reducing the devastation this time around, according to Van der Molen, was that “electrical power failures were localized and briefer.”

Doss added, “Two reasons why this year’s flooding caused less damage are that people were better prepared, and more residents put in some sort of flood control.”

For example, Tom and Kathy Reich, who live on Circle Avenue installed a shut off valve between their house and the street about fifteen years ago. “It cost us several thousand dollars,” Tom said, “but we haven’t had a problem with flooding since then. We knew we were going to stay in Forest Park a long time. It was worth the investment.”

Around 100 residents report flood damage

According to the Village of Forest Park, about 100 residents reported damage to their residences from the flood on the village’s Data Collection Questionnaire. The questionnaire asked for details about flood damage including causes such as sewer backup or ground water from sump pump failure. The questionnaire also asked how water entered the residence: via basement door, window well, first floor door, garage door, patio or other means. Whether the residence had flooded previously and whether yards, streets and alleys flooded was also asked.


“The forms indicated a mix of seepage and in some cases sewage backup [in Forest Park],” Gillian said in an email.


“The village will continue to accept the forms,” Gillian added. “If [residents] did not have time to submit a form they will not be precluded from filing a claim in the event funds are made available.”


Find Village of Forest Park forms here: