Village Considers Significant Storm Water Project
Update – The Village Board will be meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Monday, November 27th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the Storm Water Project. Click here for the meeting agenda. Click here for the meeting packet.
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.
The Project- How We Got Here
In 2014, the Village Board hired the engineering firm of Christopher B. Burke Engineering to conduct a comprehensive study of the separate storm sewer system to address street and overland flooding. The performance goal of the study was to identify projects that would keep flood levels below street level for a 10-year storm event (a storm having a 10% chance of occurring in a given year).
In 2015, Burke presented a number of possible projects that would provide 10-year flood protection, with the most effective being the construction of 44,000 feet of new storm sewer west of Ridge Road at an estimated cost of $80 million (in 2017 dollars).
In 2016, the Village hired a second engineering firm, Stantec, to verify and validate the proposed project’s costs and associated benefits. Stantec concurred with the conclusions of the Burke study regarding the effectiveness of the project, while also noting that the project could cost as much as $95 million (in 2017 dollars).
In 2017, to ensure that all alternatives and lower cost options were considered, the Village tasked Stantec with exploring all possible options to reduce the depth and duration of overland flooding west of Ridge Road. The feasible project alternatives range in cost from $48 – $95 million (in 2017 dollars) and provide varying levels of flood protection.
The project cost could 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 typically funded through residents’ sewer user fees, which are included on your water bill. Depending on the project selected, the median annual sewer bill could increase by $220 – $437.