Flooding causes serious devastation in the Chicago region.
In the summer of 2011, CNT met with property owners to learn more about flooding in the Chicago region and to help inform the development of our Wetrofit program—a one-stop wet weather retrofit service that will provide access to technical assistance, education to communities, and advocacy tools.
We listened to countless stories of how flooding has affected and continues to plague residents, businesses, schools and churches. We learned that in addition to the obvious costs associated with backyard and basement flooding from clean-up and repair, flooding affects health, security and peace of mind.
CNT is working with a select number of cities to support investment in innovative stormwater solutions to reduce neighborhood and household flooding.
Below are some of the stories we heard from homeowners across the Chicago region.
Elizabeth Rafferty’s South Side Chicago home has flooded four times in the last two years, thoroughly wrecking her basement. During a severe storm in May 2010, rain overwhelmed the storm sewers in Rafferty’s neighborhood and water and sewage came up through the drain in her basement.
What does flooding cost? For the water damage to Jim Vinci’s home in Des Plaines, the answer is about $150,000. “When I hear about a storm coming, I have to move my cars” to higher ground Vinci said. That is because his garage is below grade, and apt to fill with water. Since he bought his home in 1986, he estimates he has had 10 significant instances of flooding. Vinci said his insurer canceled his coverage for water damage because of the number of claims.
Feeling violated in the same way that robbery victims sometimes describe feeling violated
Kathy Parker and her daughter Evelyn’s Chicago home flooded in 2010 and again in 2011. Kathy says her basement was once a safe haven. Now she says she feels “violated” in the same way that robbery victims sometimes describe feeling violated. “That’s what’s so disheartening,’’ Kathy said sewage bubbling up from her basement drain. “You’ve got the nastiest stuff imaginable and it’s coming in and invading your living space.”
With more development comes more flooding
Darlene Crawford isn’t sure how many times her Chicago home of four decades has flooded. But she can easily remember what she and her family have tried to stop the water from bubbling up into her basement. “Over the years we have had a sump pump put in,” she said. “We have sealed every crack around our house. We have cemented the perimeter of our house. We have put in waterproofing.”