EAST CHICAGO | Flooding from last week's heavy rains remains on the mind of the East Chicago City Council.
Sixth District Councilwoman Gilda Orange said she and several other council members were among the residents who had water in their homes.
Orange told John Martinez, director of operations for the East Chicago Sanitary District, that some people have said pumping stations had not been opened.
Martinez said it is not a matter of flipping a switch to turn the stations because all 11 pumping stations in the city operate on a floating system.
"Once it hits a certain level, the pumps turn on automatically," he said.
Martinez said the rain that began to fall Sept. 18 resulted in about 3.7 inches of water within about an hour and a half.
"So basically we had to wait until the pumps all caught up before the water started going down," he said. "It was just a lot of water came down at one time."
Martinez said the city's wells are 30-feet deep, and the pumps turn on at the 10-feet level.
First District Councilman Adrian Santos asked Martinez to see if it is possible to have the pumps kick on before that mark.
Santos said he receives many calls from residents regarding flooding and asked Martinez if help is available.
Martinez said the city offers a check-valve program to prevent flooding.
"If you sign up for it and you have it installed by professional plumbers, the city will reimburse you up to $750," Martinez said. "Those check valves will stop the water from coming in."
Santos said he was told there was no funding for that program, but Martinez said he had not heard that.
"As of two months ago, I believe there was money in that account," Martinez said.
Residents seeking information regarding the check-valve program can call the East Chicago Sanitary District at (219) 391-8466.
Orange said residents also can call the city's Emergency Management Agency to obtain cleaning kits with buckets, mops and other items.