Residents air Lake Ellyn flooding grievances, officials propose potential solutions

Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:34 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – In the wake of recent flooding, residents and politicians alike are addressing a multitude of possible options to control water drainage at Lake Ellyn.

Discussions regarding lake flooding continued last week, as the Glen Ellyn Village Board and Park District Board of Commissioners met to discuss the latest event in April and gave members of the public an opportunity to voice their concerns.

The special workshop also provided an opportunity for newly elected members of both boards to familiarize themselves with a Lake Ellyn study that had been previously commissioned by the village and park district.

Water drains from Lake Ellyn through an outlet structure at the north end of the lake into a storm sewer under Riford Road. The sewer brings it to a channel betwen 725 and 717 Riford Road, and water heads to Perry's Pond, eventually reaching the East Branch of the DuPage River.

Nearby residences between 729 and 735 Riford Road experience the most severe flooding in the area.

At the May 28 joint workshop, resident Kurt Kabat questioned why his family wasn't notified of the flooding in the area when he moved there.

"I can't sleep in my house, knowing it's going to rain tonight," Kabat said. "My kids are petrified."

The Lake Ellyn drainage study was first presented in April 2012, followed by a few supplementary studies that were presented in January. The study looked at the current conditions of the Lake Ellyn area and made a series of recommendations of how drainage in the area could be improved to prevent flooding.

Some steps have been taken by the village to address flooding, including lowering the normal level of the lake, increasing the release rate out of the outlet structure at the lake's north end and improving the channel that runs parallel to two Riford Road homes, according to village records.

Additional recommendations include further increasing the release rate, expanding the size of the outlet structure, repairing damage to the channel caused by the April storm, constructing an inlet structure to convey water from Perry's Preserve to the pond, and creating a swale to drain water from Riford Road to the pond, according to village records.

Residents Joe and P.J. Sinopoli were hesitant about another recommendation to add a third pipe underneath Riford Road to convey water to the channel that runs parallel to their property, saying they would consider taking legal action if the village decided to pursue it.

"If you think you can have a solution involving another pipe on my land, then we're going to litigate, and it's going to get ugly," Joe Sinopoli said.

However, Village Manager Mark Franz said the exact location of the pipe hasn't been determined yet.

Other recommendations include buy-out programs and flood-proofing yards most affected.

All recommmendations that would cost the village more than $20,000 need to be approved by the village board, Franz said. Some recommendations also need other approval, either from DuPage County or the park district.

Future actions will include discussions by both boards to determine which recommendations to pursue, Franz said. More design will be required before the boards meet to approve any recommendations, which should happen in the next few months.

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