Flooding & Flood prevention » Yard Flooding

Yard Flooding

Yard flooding occurs when there is a significant amount of stormwater runoff that is conveyed to a localized low-lying area. This can be from a single property or multiple properties and can occur in an area of a single yard to several yards. Stormwater runoff can come from multiple sources including downspout or sump pump discharge, runoff from driveways/patios, or simply just rain falling on an already-saturated soil. This type of flooding is typically caused by topography or elevations and the presence of an area that is lower than the surrounding area, thus causing a depression that may collect and hold stormwater for a time during and after rain events. This type of flooding is unrelated to sewer backup, however, yard flooding can cause seepage if the ponding water is close enough to the residence.

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What to do if it occurs

Though typically not as much of an emergency as other types of flooding that occur within the home, yard flooding can cause problems if not managed properly. Here are some things that should be considered during yard flooding events:

  • Make sure all lawn chemicals/gasoline/etc. are maintained at elevations or are in containers that will not permit them to leach out if they are stored in an area subject to flooding
  • Do not walk through flooded areas as there could be electrical current or debris capable of causing injury
  • Contact the Village to participate in the Pump Loaner Program
  • Consider purchase of a utility pump and hoses to help alleviate standing water during yard flooding events - pumping of water should not be started until rain events have stopped and sewers are operating within their capacity

How to prevent it

Though yard flooding usually cannot be prevented with 100% efficiency, there are several measures that can be taken to help offset the impacts that do occur during very heavy rain events:

  • Reduction in impervious areas - many properties in River Forest have significant impervious areas (asphalt/concrete/rooftops/patios/etc.) that create significant amounts of runoff during rain events. In addition to creating runoff, they cover areas of grass that would otherwise be able to absorb stormwater. The use of permeable materials and the reduction in impervious surfaces can help provide relief in areas that are inundated with runoff during rain events.
  • Installation of Rain Barrels - this helps collect and hold some of the initial rainfall which allows the surrounding green spaces to soak up stormwater further into the rain event. The MWRD has a purchase program for all Cook County residents which can be found here.
  • Installation of a dry well - while it has a limited capacity, dry wells are stone-filled pits which allow stormwater to flow into the ground more readily, reducing the amount of accumulated water at the ground-level. For a list of Landscape Contractors currently licensed in the Village, click here. 
  • Installation of a cistern - this is similar to a dry well, however, it provides a much greater storage volume within the same space. Perforated cisterns then allow accumulated water to slowly soak back into the soil after the rain event has stopped and the groundwater has receded. For a list of Landscape Contractors currently licensed in the Village, click here. 
  • Installation of a rain garden - this is a depressional area that should be planted with native vegetation that is capable of withstanding periods of inundation. The depressional area will help contain some levels of standing water and the native vegetation will help absorb some of the water as well as draw it down into the soil. For a list of Landscape Contractors currently licensed in the Village, click here. 
  • The Village has also initiated conversations regarding a potential partnership with the Center for Neighborhood Technologies (CNT) Rain Ready Program. This group has created a significant amount of informational handouts, some of which can be found below:
  • Making Your Yard RainReady
  • Seven Techniques for Capturing Rainwater on Your Property
  • Get RainReady with Rain Barrels
  • Get RainReady with Native Plants
  • Get RainReady with Trees
  • Protecting Your Home with RainReady Insurance Policies
  • Your Building's Sewer Pipe