Why Do Some Areas in Glencoe Flood?

Why Do Some Areas of Glencoe have a Chronic Flooding Problem?

Municipal flooding occurs chiefly due to three factors:

  • The capacity of the storm sewer system infrastructure is insufficient to handle the amount of storm water generated during extreme weather
  • The condition of the sewer infrastructure results in less-than-optimal storm water management
  • Private property drainage or other resident-controlled conditions either inhibit storm water management or exacerbate the effects of the flooding;
    • Overland flow grading
    • Inadequate or poorly maintained private drainage systems
    • Excessive impervious surfaces
While the weather is an important determinant in the frequency and severity of flooding conditions, these other factors must be addressed to ensure the Village and individual home owners take actions to minimize the damage caused by flood events. The solution to abating storm water damage relies on attending to all three of these components.
The Village has separate sewer systems; meaning that there are separate storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems. The storm sewer system collects storm water runoff from streets, yards, roof downspouts and sump pump discharge. The sanitary sewer system collects wastewater from interior plumbing systems. It is illegal for storm water to be directed into the sanitary sewer system. The Village completed a comprehensive inflow/infiltration (I/I) reduction program in the 1990s as required by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). I/I sources (storm water) can tax the sanitary sewer during rain events and contribute to basement backups.

The Village’s storm sewers drain to the East Diversion Ditch, a tributary of the Skokie River, or to Lake Michigan. The two watersheds are generally divided by Green Bay Road (see map below).