Stormwater sewer lines have blockages, obstructions

By on June 5, 2009

Remediation planned, larger pipes may be needed
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn is stepping up efforts to alleviate residential flooding that is becoming worse, particularly on the near west side of town, during heavy rainfall.

Blocked stormwater sewer lines through which rainwater cannot flow are believed to be the cause.

Public works staff have recently been televising sewer lines with a robotic camera on the northwest section of the village, and flushing out obstructions. But sometimes that is not possible. While televising a stormwater sewer pipe near Reader and Pierce streets, crews found a total blockage.

“They ran into black and we were not able to televise further,” Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven said during the Public Works Committee meeting May 26.

Nevenhoven said flushing did not work to clear the sewer-line clog.

“It is solid,” he said.

Nevenhoven said the village needs a larger storm sewer to service that area, which experienced pooling and ponding near storm drains during rainfall in recent months. The existing pipe is six inches in diamater.

Stormwater flooding and residential sewage backups hit the older parts of Elburn hardest, specifically the northwest side and the Cambridge subdivision.

Jerry Jefferson, a Cambridge Avenue resident, told the Village Board Monday that property on both sides of his street often has major flooding.

“When we get a heavy rain, half of my backyard fills,” Jefferson said.

He said his yard never flooded until about three years ago. Trustee Jerry Schmidt visited Jefferson’s property recently and believes that the stormwater sewer line is obstructed by tree roots that have grown into it over time.

Jefferson asked what steps the village will take to alleviate the problem. Village President Dave Anderson said village crews will try to clear the stormwater sewer lines this summer.

Trustee Gordon Dierschow said if public works crews cannot cut the roots out, more drastic measures will be necessary.

“They will have to dig them out—a tree could have to come down, fences will have to be removed,” trustee Dierschow said Monday. “There will have to be heavy restoral.”

During the upcoming annual budget planning process, village officials will consider allocating money for larger sewer pipes where needed, they said.

While televising pipes on the northwest side, public works staff so far have not found any major cracks or collapses in the stormwater and sanitary sewer lines.

“For the most part, the pipes looked like they were in good condition,” Nevenhoven said.

Taking a look
The village of Elburn is using a robotic camera to televise its sewer lines to determine the cause of residential flooding and sewage backups during heavy rainfall. The village has separate sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. Televising has found stormwater pipe blockages, but so far has found no major cracks in the sanitrary sewer lines where stormwater could infiltrate those pipes.