Stimulus funds sought for aging stormwater system upgrades

By on March 5, 2010

Villages apply for $3.4M for flood reduction projects
by Martha Quetsch
MP, ELBURN—Maple Park and Elburn officials hope that economic stimulus funds will make sorely needed stormwater system improvements possible in their villages.

The two villages, along with Cortland, applied this week for $3.4 million in federal funds for stormwater drainage repairs and improvements to reduce residential flooding.

In Maple Park, sections of the village’s existing storm water sewers are “archaic” and are not effectively mitigating water during heavy rains or when snow melts, Maple Park Village President Kathy Curtis said.

A village engineering study in 2008 recommended stormwater system improvements with an estimated cost of $1.8 million. However, the village does not have the funds to undertake such a project, Curtis said.

By applying collectively, the villages could have a better chance of securing some or all of the much-needed funding, Maple Park trustee Suzanne Fahnestock said.

In the combined funding application, Elburn Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven stated that the northwest side of the village experiences frequent flooding, standing water and sewer back-ups due to an “inadequate and antiquated storm sewer system.”

Elburn applied for stimulus funding to install new storm sewers in that area, a project with an estimated cost of $192,000. The project would reduce street flooding and standing water in residential yards that plague that part of town by replacing existing storm sewer lines that were installed during the 1920s and 1930s, Nevenhoven said.

Those aging lines “are woefully undersized to meet demand, have completely clogged or clog easily during a rain event,” Nevenhoven said.

If Elburn does not obtain the stimulus funds, it could use money from the water and sewer capital fund, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said; the fund currently totals just $53,000, but village officials are considering boosting the balance through higher water and sewer charges.

Another option for Elburn, if it does not receive the stimulus funds, would be to pay for the new storm sewers through the village’s fund designated for expanding the wastewater treatment plant in the future, Willrett said. The fund currently has a balance of $1.5 million.

Village officials: Projects would create 100 jobs
In their combined application for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal economic stimulus program) funding for stormwater system improvements, officials from Maple Park, Elburn and Cortland estimated that the projects would create more than 100 jobs.

On Feb. 13, 2009, the U.S. Congress passed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to the federal government’s website, the act’s goals are to create new jobs and save existing ones, and to spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth.