Flooding & Flood prevention » Flood Protection Studies

Flood Protection Studies

The Village is regularly engaging in studies and planning activities to reduce the likelihood, or impact, of flooding on a community level. Some of these studies and plans include:

North River Forest Sewer Study

In 2012, the Village retained the services of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) to review the stormwater management recommendations presented in the North Avenue Area Flood Mitigation Report (FluidClarity, Ltd., March 2012).  

CBBEL presented their review of this report at the November 12th, 2012 Village Board meeting and discussed alternatives for stormwater improvements in the area north of Division Street.  Subsequent to the November 12th Village Board meeting, CBBEL developed additional project alternatives and presented them at the December 10th Village Board meeting.  At the February 19, 2013 Village Board meeting, CBBEL 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 held a community meeting on Monday, April 29th at 7pm at Concordia University to present and discuss the Greenfield Street Alternative with the community.

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. For additional information regarding the MWRD and their combined sewer overflow program, click here

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 a  website that provides an overview of the combined sewer systems and explains how these systems operate during rainstorms. Click here for the MWRD Stormwater Management Website.