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The Village of River Forest is committed to managing stormwater and reducing flooding where possible. To that end, the Village has an annual sewer maintenance program, regularly studies long-term capital improvements, encourages environmental best practices and has implemented resident assistance programs to reduce flooding of individual homes.

See below for more information on the Village's flood control program:

North River Forest Sewer Study

In 2012, the Village retained the services of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBE) to review the stormwater management recommendations presented in the North Avenue Area Flood Mitigation Report (FluidClarity, Ltd., March 2012).  Click here to review a copy of that report.

CBBE presented their review of this report at the November 12th Village Board meeting and discussed alternatives for stormwater improvements in the area north of Division Street.  Subsequent to the November 12th Village Board meeting, CBBE developed additional project alternatives and presented them at the December 10th Village Board meeting.  At the February 19, 2013 Village Board meeting, CBBBE presented the Greenfield Street Alternative plan. The Village Board was unanimous in that the Greenfield plan was the best option available to the Village and will be holding a community meeting on Monday, April 29th at 7pm at Concordia University (in the Christopher Center) to present and discuss the Greenfield Street Alternative with the community. Below is a link to the agenda materials and presentation from the February 19th Village Board meeting.

Christopher Burke Flood Mitigation Presentation 

For more information about the funding options for the Northside Sewer Project as well as a interest survey and approximate cost calculator, please click here.  

Des Plaines River Gaging Station

The Village and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) worked collaboratively to install a stage-only gaging station on the Lake Street bridge over the Des Plaines River. The new gaging station will automatically transmit river level data to the USGS via radio telemetry equipment. In addition to transmitting river level data, the gaging station will be a river forecast site for the National Weather Service (NWS) and will predict river crests and water elevations in the days following a rain event. The USGS has begun transmitting river level data that can be accessed on the USGS website (click here). Also, for the latest updated river information go to NOAA's website Des Plaines River at River Forest

The NWS indicates that river level forecasting may take several months to develop.

The USGS WaterAlert service sends e-mail and text messages when certain parameters exceed user-definable thresholds.  These thresholds are based on time (daily, hourly) and/or gage height (river level).  This is available to the general public and will require the user to subscribe (at no cost) to the WaterAlert System.  To request notifications through this service, click on the WaterAlert hyperlink that is located below River Forest's graph on the USGS website (or click here) 

Combined Sewer Overflows

On February 26, 2007 the Village held a Public Information Meeting to present a Pollution Prevention Plan, Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Operations & Maintenance Plan and a Public Notification Plan in accordance with requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits for the Village of River Forest Permit No. ILM580024. The links above describe the Village's actions to help improve water quality in the Des Plaines River by reducing or eliminating potential pollution from the Village's combined sewers.

MWRD Stormwater Materials

The Village of River Forest is served by combined sewers that transport both sanitary sewage (from sinks, showers, toilets, etc.) and stormwater (rainfall) in the same piping system.  The capacity of the Village’s combined sewer system, which is similar to nearly all other combined sewer systems in the Cook County area, is not adequate to carry the peak flow and oftentimes results in pressurized sewers during periods of intense rains.  When pressurized, the combined sewage will backflow through house laterals into basements if there is no backflow prevention.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) has developed an educational and informative brochure that provides an overview of the combined sewer systems and explains how these systems operate during rainstorms. Click here to view the brochure

Resident Assistance Program- Protect Your Basement

The Village has funding available for a program designed to help subsidize the installation of eligible flood control improvements such as overhead sewers or backflow prevention valves. With backflow prevention, buildings can be protected against the occasional backup of the Village's combined sewer system. In the standard subsidy program, property owners can receive a subsidy covering 50% of the costs of eligible improvements up to a maximum reimbursement amount of $4,000.

In addition to the standard subsidy program, the Village has approved variable subsidies for the Program to Protect Basements. This tiered subsidy program increases the subsidy levels for certain properties located in high risk areas and high risk-limited access areas. These variable subsidies, which are only available for eligible properties, are as follows:

Click here for Information Packet.

Click here to contact Public Works if you have additional questions.

Senior Basement Protection Program

The Village has a grant program for senior citizens who are unable to afford the cost of a basement protection system for their residential sewer lines. The Senior Basement Protection Grant will work with the existing "Protect Your Basement" Program. Senior citizens who qualify will be eligible to have remaining cost paid for by this grant. 

In order to qualify, senior citizens must meet the following criteria:

Click here for additional information

Click here for an application form

Pump Loaner Program

The Village has a Pump Loaner Program to assist residents experiencing rear yard flooding associated with heavy rains and snow melt. Rear yard flooding can approach foundations/basement windows which could cause basement flooding. The Village has three electric submersible pumps and is making them available to residents interested in pumping surface water out of rear yards.

Important Pump Loaner Program information:

To participate in this program, residents should contact the Village to request the use of a pump. Contact information is as follows:

  1. Call 708-366-8500 (Public Works) during normal work hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

  2. Call 708-366-7125 (West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center) outside normal work hours: after 4:30 PM during the week and on weekends and holidays.

Flood Safety

Listed below are important flood safety tips:

Tips to Prevent Flooding in Your Home

Helpful Tips to Prevent Flooding

What to do if you experience flooding in your home

If Raw Sewage Backed Up Into Your Home

Helpful Links to Protect Your Home & Recover From a Flood