We all contribute to the flooding problems, because we all have roofs, driveways, patios and garages that cover the ground and cause stormwater runoff. We can all be part of the solution, too.
In our communities in Southwest Cook County, the quality of our lives is inextricably tied to the nature around us. And, unfortunately, it often feels like that nature is out to get us—especially when it rains.
Storm events are increasing in frequency and severity throughout the Midwest, and the increase in rainfall is overwhelming our infrastructure. Residential flooding can happen in our communities simply because there is nowhere else for the water to go.
In urban and suburban areas where most of the ground is covered with streets, parking lots, driveways and buildings, rain water is unable to soak into the soil. Since the water cannot soak into the ground, it enters the pipes of our sewer system and our local ditches. Unfortunately, our storm sewer system was built before so much of our community was covered in concrete. It wasn’t designed to carry this much water, so the sewers and ditches overflow and water fills our streets and homes.
As a result, frequent floods are causing significant damage to properties. Despite ongoing investments in infrastructure, sewers, flood storage areas and other stormwater management structures, homeowners are still experiencing flood damage.
To reduce house and basement flooding, we need to make sure that more rain water is able to soak into the ground, keeping it out of the overloaded sewers and ditches. We can reduce residential flooding through a combination of gray and green infrastructure.
Gray infrastructure refers to traditional engineered solutions to flooding problems, like sewers. Gray infrastructure is often designed to move rainwater to another location to reduce flooding. Alternately, green infrastructure practices treat water where it falls, allowing the water to sink slowly into the ground.
Every resident can take personal actions on their property to help prevent future flood damage.
Click here for steps homeowners can take to reduce flooding.