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Pilot study begins to relieve Chatham home flooding

At the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD’s) June 1 Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board approved contributing up to $400,000 toward a pilot study that will evaluate potential runoff reduction and flood protection alternatives at approximately 40 homes in the Chatham neighborhood.

Before approving the legislation to fund the project, Vice President McGowan recommended an amendment to require that construction contracts paid with District funds must comply with the District’s Purchasing Act, the Multi-Party Labor Agreement, and the District’s Affirmative Action Ordinance. The legislation, along with the amendment, were unanimously approved by the full Board.

“The District’s Executive Director, David St. Pierre, took the lead for over two years in working with the Board of Commissioners, the city of Chicago and other community partners to bring this pilot project to fruition,” said Vice President McGowan. “Given the history of flooding in this area, we look forward to its success so we can broaden the area of flood relief.”

The pilot project will include low-cost technologies installed at approximately 40 homes; sample installations will include downspout disconnection and extension, rain gardens, check valves and backflow preventers. The devices will be monitored and after 18 months of research, the MWRD and other stormwater experts will assess the effectiveness of these different technologies all aimed at reducing basement backups and flooding.

Through an existing grant with the city, the Center of Neighborhood Technology (CNT) RainReady program will coordinate project outreach, provide insight and work to build flood solutions with various homeowners, while contractors hired by the city, as well as through their green job training program known as Greencorps, will have the opportunity to install these flooding remedies.

Technologies deployed by stormwater experts will vary from each home chosen to participate in the study. CNT will conduct the property inspections, recommend appropriate flood control technologies, and implement a monitoring program that includes post-installation surveys. CNT will also procure plumbing contractors to install the selected flood protection devices with the agreement of the homeowners. Greencorps Chicago, in coordination with CNT, will install the runoff reduction systems.

The city has agreed to contribute a maximum of $200,000 toward the implementation of the pilot study, covering the administrative costs incurred by CNT and Greencorps Chicago. Any remaining funds will go toward installation costs. The MWRD will reimburse the city for the installation costs of eligible flood control technologies, up to $400,000.

Following selection of participating properties, installation of runoff reduction and flood protection systems will be completed by the end of 2017, with monitoring efforts to follow.



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