HINSDALE – Since 2010, Salt Creek has been unforgiving to Graue Mill area residents.
In just three years, the Graue Mill area has been hit with multiple torrential storm systems, which flooded the creek, forced residential evacuations and caused millions of dollars in damage.
“I waded through one of these areas in 2010 – I did not in 2013 – and the water reached me up to my belly button,” said Peter Schroth, president of the Graue Mill Homeowner’s Association.
Current Graue Mill area residents may never forget the April 2013 flooding in York Road when heavy rainfall submerged electrical transformers, engulfed two parking garages in water and led to the evacuation of most of Graue Mill’s 243 residential condos.
But those residents now have a reason to celebrate.
On Feb. 18, Rep. Mike Quigley, Ill. – District 5, announced a $2.57 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to help fund a flood prevention project for the Graue Mill neighborhood.
“We have been waiting for this money for about two years,” Schroth said. “The application was filed Feb. 12, 2012, and the approval came on Feb. 11, 2014, so it’s almost within a day of a two-year period.
“Especially for those people who are in the flood prone areas, that’s a long time and lots of frustration.”
Schroth said the flood crest – the highest level of a flood wave – reached 644 feet in 2010 and 645 feet in 2013.
“The 2013 storm has been, by all standards measured, as being greater than a 100-year storm, so they’re trying to protect [the area] the best they can,” Hinsdale Village Engineer Dan Deeter said.
Deeter explained the area has several different buildings that flooded for varying reasons, so different buildings will get different solutions to protect against flooding. In some cases, the height of the berm will be raised, but in other cases, a wall and flood gates will be constructed.
“There’s a number of different buildings this impacts, and a number of different solutions that they are providing as appropriate for the building,” Deeter said.
Schroth said engineering firm Christopher B. Burke surveyed the property and developed a plan to help with flood prevention, which includes the construction of berms and flood gates as well as upgraded pumps and water management improvements.
The federal grant will pay for 75 percent of the $3.4 million project. Graue Mill area residents, the Village of Hinsdale and DuPage County will provide the remaining funds to match the federal grant.
No time table has been established as to when the preventive measures will be put in place.
“We will want to start as quickly as possible,” Schroth said. “The projection that we’ve had prior to even knowing we would get the money, has been that there would be about a year of engineering and permitting, and then the actual changes in the topography of the property would not be much more than six or seven months.”