A week before the maggots hatched, raw sewage gushed into Lori Burns’ basement for the sixth time in a decade.
Her brick bungalow in the Chatham neighborhood was among thousands of Chicago homes swamped by another rainstorm that overwhelmed the city’s aging sewer system. This particular downpour ended up as one of the worst on record. Two months’ worth of rain fell in two days during April 2013 — a storm marked by geysers of human waste bursting out of manholes, and a torrent of sewage and runoff surging through the Chicago River into Lake Michigan. [...]
Some community leaders are embracing smaller-scale, neighborhood-focused projects designed to provide relief by keeping stormwater out of sewers.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology is nudging government officials to change their focus with a program it calls RainReady, which combats flooding with building, plumbing and landscaping improvements that in some cases are coordinated with sewer upgrades.
Residents in south suburban Midlothian pressured their elected officials to sign up for the program. The group also has worked with residents and public officials in Blue Island, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Dolton, Riverdale and Robbins.