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Services offered for Elmhurst residents in flood recovery

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:32 p.m. CDT

ELMHURST – It only took 15 hours for 7 inches of rain to fall last week in Elmhurst, but any resident will tell you the damage done in those 15 hours is going to take many more to clean up.

According to a letter to residents from Elmhurst’s acting mayor, Scott Levin, flooding on April 18 was a result of complete ground saturation, forcing more water into the city’s stormwater system than it could handle.

By Monday, the flood control facility at Elmhurst Quarry stopped operating, but not before it and the other area flood control centers diverted about three billion gallons of water from DuPage County residents by stormwater management estimates.

Elmhurst 1st Ward alderman Diane Gutenkauf created a Facebook group called “Elmhurst helping Elmhurst” after receiving a message from a resident about relief efforts. As of Wednesday morning, the group had 344 members.

“It fills people’s need to help,” Gutenkauf said.

Gutenkauf said she thinks residents worry most about how to protect themselves from future flooding. The city’s overhead sewer program matches 50 percent of resident expenses up to $5,000 when they install an overhead sewer, which prevents sewer backup during intense weather.

“We get a lot of interest in city-funded programs immediately following floods,” said Gutenkauf, adding that more city programs are being developed.

Damage assessment forms were due to the city of Elmhurst on Wednesday. The forms are only for assessment purposes and are not applications for aid.

Gov. Pat Quinn declared DuPage and 37 other counties state disaster areas, but before Elmhurst residents can qualify for possible federal aid, the city must be declared a federal disaster area based on initial damage assessment form responses.

Those who believe storm damage may affect their property values can fill out a form provided by York Township. The form allows residents to request limited assessment relief for the 2013 tax year for taxes payable in 2014.

Forms and photos of damage are due to the York Township Assessor’s Office by Aug. 16.

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