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Public works director addresses board, residents about La Grange flooding

LA GRANGE – A crowd of residents attended Monday's Village Board meeting to listen to the board's workshop presentation on the village's sewer system.

The informational session, led by Public Works Director Ryan Gillingham, explained how La Grange's sewer system works, what some of the causes of flooding in town were and why some homes were affected and others not.

Gillingham explained that the village's system, installed in the 1880s, covers about 38 miles of combined sewers.

In the village, there are four points where excess water can discharge: At 47th Street and East Avenue, at East Avenue and Cossitt Avenue, at Gordon Park, and at Nazareth Academy, according to Gillingham. He said, typically, flooding is caused from either collapsed or blocked sewers, depressed areas, or having a rain event that exceeds the system's capacity.

According to Gillingham, the village's Public Works Department received 110 calls from residents during the June 30 storms and floods caused in the storm's aftermath.

To combat flooding in the village, Gillingham said the village would be taking a few steps, including watching the main sewer to ensure it is operating properly, checking for blockage, meeting with residents, and eventually presenting the board with a set of recommendations.

After hearing a mix of praise and some less supportive comments from residents, the village board voiced its support for the department's efforts in tackling the flooding.

At the end of the presentation, trustee Jeff Nowak said the village makes decisions with residents' best interest in mind.

"One of the few things I'm sure of as a trustee, is that we can have a whole lot of faith in [Ryan Gillingham] leading us in public works," Nowak said.

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