Officials in the town of Dyer are working on a variety of storm water projects to help prevent residents from the extensive flooding that has plagued neighborhoods in past years.
“We have an aggressive storm water management program we have been working on for a long time,” said Town Manager Rick Eberly. “We’re inching closer to completing it.”
The Beren’s - Monaldi subdivision, on the west side of town about a half-mile south of US 30, is one of the most flood-prone areas of town. Most of the 175 homes in that area were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and sustained severe damages during floods in 1990, 2007 and 2008.
The 2008 flood was especially bad, when about eight inches of rain fell during a short period. During that flood, water closed part of US 30 close to the hospital.
“We had one foundation washed out entirely during one of the floods,” Eberly said. “There was a lot of damages. Some homes had basements that were completely full of water.”
The town recently completed the final phase of a water management project.
“We are now providing significantly greater flood protection to the most vulnerable area of town,” Eberly said.
The first two phases of the project created a north and south section to a flood wall, as well as a storm water lift station designed to help pump water out.
“The storm wall helps keep water into the creek, and the lift station helps keep rainwater out of the subdivision,” he said.
The project was completed thanks to about $1 million in grants the town acquired.
The storm water board is continuing to search for grants to fund a massive project that would provide flood relief, Eberly said. That project, which would construct a reservoir that would be able to store water and release it slowly into a creek, would cost between $10 million and $20 million.
“It’s a very aggressive, progressive plan that the storm board has, but it involves buying property outside of Dyer and outside of the state (in Illinois,)” he said. “We would need substantial help from the state and federal funds to get that done.”
The project would be a slow process, but would virtually eliminate any flood risk in town.
“We’re looking for grants, talking with federal agencies,” Eberly said. “We’ve identified property that is the most advantageous for us to buy. But right now, it’s beyond our ability to fund at this point relying only on local resources. But it would provide tremendous flood relief if we’re able to do it.”
In the mean time, Eberly said in event of another massive rain event, the town is more prepared, thanks to the recently-completed lift station and flood walls.
“If we have another rain event like in 2008, this would protect that subdivision entirely,” he said. “If we get something greater than that, all bets are off.”