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Letter: April floods make record day at sanitary district

April floods make record day at sanitary district

To the Editor:

The Downers Grove Sanitary District pumped more water through its treatment plant on April 18 than it has ever pumped in a single day.

Heavy rain on saturated ground conditions filled the collection system beyond its capacity. The system is designed to carry sanitary wastewater only. Rain and flood water unintentionally enters the system in a variety of ways, from public and private property sources.

Our ordinances prohibit the connection of any sources of clear water from being connected to the sanitary sewer. Downspouts, area drains, footing drains and basement groundwater sumps are expressly prohibited from being connected to the sanitary service.

All new construction is required to include overhead sewers or other effective backflow prevention to protect property from backups that can result from flooding, such as the event of April 18.

There are many older homes that were built without the benefit of overhead sewers. The district offers a cost-sharing program for the installation of overhead sewers or backflow prevention devices, where the district will share half the cost of the installation, limited to $3,000 per property.

Our website offers ready access to our customer programs at or call our office at 630-969-0664.

The district typically budgets over $2 million per year to maintain the collection system, including rehabilitation to control sources of clear water from entering the system.

We prioritize our work by monitoring flows in the system after storm events and tracking operational problems including reports of backups and manhole overflows.

The district was able to secure over $6 million in funding during the recent stimulus program to rehabilitate roughly 10 percent of the highest-priority public mains and manholes, reducing peak flows in the system by 15 percent.

This recent event makes it clear that the need for system rehabilitation continues, and that private property sources are significant.

The Downers Grove Sanitary District is responsible for providing sanitary sewer service for Downers Grove and portions of Westmont, Woodridge and Lisle.

Nicholas J. Menninga

General Manager, Downers Grove Sanitary District

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