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Elmhurst's proposed storm water infiltration policy faces concerns

Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 9:40 a.m. CDT

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Public Works and Buildings Committee plans to continue discussion on a proposed stormwater infiltration policy after residents and local builders posed questions about it.

“It’s not practical,” Elmhurst builder Dave McKenna said.

He was just one of the builders and residents who attended the last committee meeting to find out more about the proposed policy that would require new construction homes to include specified amount of storm water storage based on lot size in the form of a French drain, rain garden, a Cultec underground infiltration system, and/or rainwater harvesting system.

The minimum required storage is 750 cubic feet of water for a lot up to 10,000 square feet. McKenna is concerned that while the underground storage tank would need to be larger than any he’s been able to find, it won’t be very effective because once the individual water storage tank filled, it would empty into the city’s storm system.

“After a 2-inch rain this thing is full, and it’s going into the storm sewer,” McKenna said.

McKenna estimates an infiltration system that follows the policy would cost homeowners between $8,000 to $10,000, but says it’s not about the money. The proposed infiltration systems are required to be spaced certain distances from other buildings, lot lines and trees which, McKenna said, would make them nearly impossible to install.

Public Works and Buildings Committee Chairman Jim Kennedy said the committee pulled the policy off of the City Council agenda a few weeks ago because they found residents and builders had concerns. The committee plans to continue reviewing the policy at its next meeting on Oct. 15.

McKenna said he understands the city is under a lot of pressure to combat the storm water management issues in Elmhurst, he just doesn’t think the proposed policy is the answer. He thinks making current residents disconnect their sump pumps from the storm sewer could be a better option.

“All I know is I have a lot of questions that are not answered by the committee or the engineers,” McKenna said.

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