Village Considers $77 Million Storm Water Project
The Village’s storm sewer system west of Ridge Road was constructed in the 1950s and is not designed to adequately handle even small or moderate rainfall events. The existing storm sewer pipes are too small and fill quickly during common rain events. More modern storm sewer systems have a larger capacity to handle today’s intense rain events. The result is flooded streets and intersections and, during severe rain events such as the storms of April 2013 and July 2016, overland flooding impacts many homes west of Ridge Road.
In 2014, the Village hired Christopher Burke Engineering to identify alternatives to address the problem. The goal is to keep flood levels below street level by constructing a modern sewer system. The consultants identified a number of possible projects, with the best solution being the construction of a relief storm sewer system from Ridge Road to the Village’s western limits. The estimated cost of the project is $77M and would take a minimum of 5 years to design, permit and build. The project will significantly reduce flooding for many storms and reduce the severity and duration of overland flooding for larger rain events. Low lying areas, however, would still be prone to occasional flooding, but at a reduced elevation and duration.
The project cost would be equal to all the money the Village has spent on sewer projects across the Village since 1990. While the cost of the project is significant, its benefits would be, as well.
Sewer improvements in Wilmette are funded through residents’ sewer user fees, which are included on your water bill. This project is projected to increase the sewer rate from $4.24 to $8.92. An average annual sewer bill would increase from $565 to $1,190, a $625 average annual increase.