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Levees, reservoir may ease Des Plaines River flooding

September 12, 2013 3:36:19 PM PDT
The Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to keep the Des Plaines River from causing so much damage during heavy rains.

Engineers hope the construction of a reservoir at the corner of Aptakisic and Buffalo Grove Road in Buffalo Grove and four new, concrete and earthen levees will prevent millions of dollars of damage. It's a high-cost plan that was 14 years in the making, and would take many more years to implement- if the funding is there.

"Each of the levees takes an area where there would be homes and businesses that would normally flood, as it did in April, and it would protect those areas completely from flood waters," Jeff Zuercher, Army Corps of Engineers, said.

The longest of the levees, an 11,000-footer, would run along the west bank of the river in the city of Des Plaines. The flood gates would protect some areas that always get hammered by floodwaters, like Oakton at River.

"Every time we get a strong rain. It doesn't take much," Lisa Monoson, Scharm's Floor Covering, said.

Lisa Monoson and her brother run a floor covering firm that has flooded five times since they opened in 1979.

"It costs us $75,000 to $100,000 every time we flood," Fred Scharm said.

The businesses in the area will welcome more flood control. The levees, reservoirs, and removal of old dams won't drop the flood level much, but enough to have an economic impact

"It's just shy of $10 million of annual damages that we'd be able to prevent," Zuercher said.

The whole project is pegged at $400 million, so it most definitely will take years to build.

"Perhaps it will be built in incrementally, in smaller projects, but it's good to be on the federal radar and that we could get federal authorization for funding in the future," Tim Oakley, Des Plaines Public Works director, said.


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