Strategies suggested to improve drainage, environment

By on March 5, 2010

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn trustee Ken Anderson wants future village agreements with developers to require stormwater management practices that steer precipitation as quickly as possible into local creeks and aquifers.

“The idea is getting the raindrop back into the ground as close as possible to where it falls,” Anderson said.

By doing that, local water quality and availability would be enhanced, Anderson said.

Toward that goal, he invited The Conservation Foundation to present information on innovative stormwater management practices to the Elburn Planning Commisssion on Monday.

The nonprofit foundation’s mission is to promote stewardship of the environment, including protecting creeks and watersheds and preserving natural lands.

The presenter, conservation designer Dennis Dreher, outlined stormwater drainage practices that the village could encourage or require developers to adopt, such as installing biofiltration swales, which are wide, shallow channels that decrease infiltration time; installing deep-rooted native plants instead of turf grass on open space and along detention ponds, choosing attractive varieties to make the areas more of an amenity in a subdivision; and building narrower streets and using permeable pavement.

Dreher added that the village could change its ordinances to allow for requirements such as building homes on lots with smaller setbacks and shorter driveways—clusters of houses resulting in more open space.

These suggested stormwater management strategies not only would improve drainage, they would be less costly for developers because of less pavement and maintenance, Dreher said.

Using natural landscaping means less watering and maintenance is required, he said. Rather than mowing the landscape, a homeowners association would just have to conduct a controlled burn every few years.

Dreher worked on the design of Settler’s Ridge subdivision in Sugar Grove in 2006, which when if fully built will have 40 percent open space, 13 pocket parks and many stormwater management features including vegetated swales and natural landscaping.

Village officials thanked The Conservation Foundation for the presentation and said they would consider the stormwater management suggestions for subdivisions when the housing market revives.

“I’d like to encompass these practices in future development,” Anderson said.