Flooding and Flood Prevention: A Special E-News Message from the Village President Catherine Adduci and Village Administrator Eric Palm

May, 20, 2020

A Special E-News Message from the Village President Catherine Adduci and Village Administrator Eric Palm

May 20, 2020

Dear River Forest Residents,

Over the last week spanning back to Thursday May 14, the Chicagoland region has experienced substantial rains totalling nearly eight inches. With River Forest already saturated from rain events a few days prior, significant and heavy rainfall on Sunday, May 17 created flooding issues for the Village and our residents. The Village understands the difficult situations this creates for all of us and is working to alleviate as many flooding issues as possible.

Flood Wall at Chicago  & Thatcher

On Sunday, May 17, due to the current water levels of the Des Plaines River and future weather predictions from the National Weather Service, the Village of River Forest proactively activated its Flood Protection Response Plan. In order to prevent flooding from the Des Plaines River, Chicago Avenue from Thatcher Avenue to First Avenue was closed to traffic and a flood wall was constructed.  This area is the lowest spot and the first place flooding from the river occurs. The flood wall is working properly and is successfully protecting Thatcher Avenue and the adjacent homes in that area from river flooding. These flood walls will remain in place through at least Memorial Day weekend as a precaution. Watch the video below, especially at 1:45 into the video, to see overhead shots of the area that show how important this flood wall is.

Residential Flooding and Flood Prevention

Please visit the Village’s guide on flooding and flood prevention.

This resource includes information on identifying and preventing flooding on your property and in your home. During periods of heavy rain, there are multiple types of flooding that can occur depending on how water enters a property. The most common types of flooding experienced by River Forest residents include:

The resulting levels of flooding based on these occurrences can vary from small puddles to multiple feet of water in a yard or basement, depending on many factors. By clicking on any one of the links above you will be able to see more information about how that type of flooding occurs, what to do if it does occur, and preventative measures that can be taken to minimize your risk in the first place.

Village Flooding Assistance

If you have experienced flooding on your property or in your home and are unsure where to start, unable to identify the source or cause of the problem, and/or need other flood-related assistance, the Village can help. Please contact Public Works Director John Anderson at janderson@vrf.us or 708-714-3550 The Public Works Department will schedule a time to visit your property to help assess the issue and guide you to potential solutions. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.

Flood Prevention Assistance Programs

The Village has funds available for a program designed to help subsidize the installation of eligible flood control improvements such as overhead sewers or backflow prevention valves. With these improvements, buildings can be protected against the occasional backup from the Village's combined sewer system. While all properties may be eligible to participate in the program, there are varying levels of funding available. Additionally, seniors may be eligible for further reimbursement. To learn more, click below. 

Village Infrastructure

The Village has and will continue to invest resources in preparing for flood emergencies. Examples of this include flood walls and barriers such as the one currently at Chicago & Thatcher, and flood berms like those near Lake Street and along Thatcher Avenue. The Village has also completed significant upgrades to our stormwater system, such as the Northside Sewer Management Project (NSMP). Further, the Village regularly cleans and televises sewer lines to proactively identify issues that can be remedied during annual capital improvement projects such as sewer lining or replacement. All of this work is completed in an effort to mitigate as much flooding as possible.

Flooding Safety

Flooding can present many hazards in your home, in your yard, and throughout the community. Please take time to click here and review important flood safety reminders.

Watch the Weather

Being prepared includes staying informed on the weather and the potential for heavy rainfall. Now more than ever before, residents are able to do this with weather apps that provide updates, websites, or even radio and television. Utilize a resource such as weather.com, the National Weather Service, the Chicago Tribune, or any other weather radar provider to stay in the know and stay prepared. 

Additionally, residents can click here to view the gauge that tracks the height of the Des Plaines River in real time and provides projections for water levels.

Pump Loaner Program

The Village has a Pump Loaner Program to assist residents experiencing yard flooding associated with heavy rains and snowmelt. Yard flooding can approach foundations and basement windows which could cause basement flooding. The Village has three electric submersible pumps and are available to residents interested in pumping surface water out of their yards. For full information, please click here.

Special Refuse Pickup

The Village, in partnership with our waste hauler Roy Strom, will be completing special pickups for refuse related to flooding. Residents are asked to place items at the curb (or alley for residents with alley pickups) prior to 7am on their collection day. Items may be put out in advance of this time at the residents’ convenience. Waste stickers are not needed. Roy Strom will pick up items on residents’ collection day next week - please note that next week’s pickups will be delayed one day due to Memorial Day. For COVID-19 related concerns and for the protection of waste haulers, residents are asked to place refuse in garbage bags if at all possible. Electronics are not included in this collection. However, residents in need of curbside electronic recycling should contact Roy Strom at 708-344-5000 to schedule a collection. Fees may be assessed depending on the item.

Last But Not Least

The Village will be sponsoring flooding prevention meetings via zoom or video in the upcoming months to keep residents informed on flooding prevention efforts for their home. Please check our website and our newsletters for updated information on these meetings/videos.


Cathy Adduci                       Eric Palm

Village President                 Village Administrator


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