Munster residents want answers to flooding after last week’s rains

2013-04-22T21:30:00Z 2013-04-22T23:26:04Z Munster residents want answers to flooding after last week’s rainsBY LU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent
April 22, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

MUNSTER | Residents of opposite sides of town asked the Town Council and administrative staff Monday to address problems with water ponding and streets flooding during last week’s torrential rains.

Patricia Gage and Lisa LaMonte, neighbors from the 8000 block of Kooy Drive on Munster’s north side, showed the council photos of their flooded backyards. The water comes from downspouts on homes along Howard Street, Gage said.

“The water is seeping through my basement windows,” Gage said. “I had to take a day off work Thursday. I bought a pump to pump out the water.”

LaMonte said an inch of water in her basement caused a major cleanup effort and that water flows toward their homes whenever there is a major rain or snow melt.

Council member Dave Nellans said the problem isn’t unique to Kooy Drive and Howard Street. One reason is that the town now prohibits downspouts from going into the sanitary sewers.

Gage and LaMonte requested that a drain be installed near their backyards to drain the water that accumulates.

Council President Joseph Simonetto directed the administrative staff to look into this problem.

More than a dozen residents in the 9900 block of Tanglewood Court, a cul-de-sac street in White Oak Estates, came to the Town Council meeting to complain about street flooding in their section of the subdivision and to ask that a solution be found immediately.

The problem is that the two ponds in White Oak Estates are connected, with water from the southern pond along Main Street flowing into the northern pond, Lori Zachau-Sears said.

“The kids who are in the area have to walk through bacteria-filled water. Some people couldn’t get to work,” Zachau-Sears said. “When kids got off the bus, they had to walk through that water and when they got home they had to take off their clothes to be washed and had to take showers.”

She was especially critical of Town Manager Thomas DeGiulio and the response of the town staff during the rain event.

“I’m here to ask you to be proactive rather than reactive,” Zachau-Sears said.

However, Simonetto and Nellans said they toured the area Thursday night, knew what was happening with water and that DeGiulio and public works employees have been looking into the issue.

DeGiulio told the council and audience that the gravity-flow system in White Oak Estates is designed to take water that’s accumulated in the northern pond and release it slowly into Hart Ditch through a restrictor.

“It may not be what you want to hear, but it’s better (for the water) to be in the streets than being in the basements,” DeGiulio said.

Nellans said a water control restrictor is regulated by an agency such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Lake County surveyor’s office. It is designed to allow only about 2 percent of the water collected in the pond to flow into Hart Ditch to prevent flooding downstream.

Simonetto promised all the residents the Public Works Department is looking into the problems and DeGiulio would report the findings later this week.

“Remedying something with engineering takes a long time,” Simonetto said.

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