UPDATE: Wilmette Board to Review “Value” Study of Storm Sewer Project

Westside survivors of flooding and stormwater damage had another opportunity to be heard!

For a summary, check out my Facebook post:
Quick Report on June 26 Westside Storm Sewer Presentation

Here’s my previous blog, announcing the meeting:

The village board will hold a public review of the “value engineering study” to “verify” the cost estimates and viability of the Option 1 Storm Sewer Improvement Project. (This is a follow up to an October 2016 public meeting.)

Spread the Word!

Once again (and I know you hate to hear this) but even though some of us have been lobbying the village government for years (or decades), if we don’t show up to this meeting, the village can decide we don’t care or won’t notice…

Tell your neighbors. Tell your club. Tell your Facebook friends. Tell every westsider with flooding issues to be there.

Studies on Studies, on Studies…

To prepare for the meeting, it’s a good idea to read the information available on the “value” study.

I’ve also uploaded four of the most relevant westside stormwater studies for your summer reading enjoyment (see links below ; -)

Send Feedback to the Board

If you want to provide input and/or can’t attend:

Wilmette Village President
Bob Bielinski: bielinskib@wilmette.com

Kathy Dodd: doddk@wilmette.com
Joel Kurzman: kurzmanj@wilmette.com
Stephen M. Leonard: leonards@wilmette.com
Senta Plunkett: plunketts@wilmette.com
Daniel E. Sullivan, Jr.: sullivand@wilmette.com
Julie Wolf: wolfj@wilmette.com

Possible Outcomes

As I see it, possible outcomes of June 26 are:

  1. Do nothing because “it costs too much.”
  2. Order a fourth round of studies of studies, to pursue options from the report. (Now at an estimated $750K in westside studies in today’s dollars.)
  3. Acknowledge that westside storm sewers are inadequate for conveying stormwater, given the current level of development/impermeable ground and rainfall, and approve the Option 1 westside storm sewer upgrade.

Planning and Funding

If the Option 1 upgrade is approved, planning and funding options might be:

  1. Fund the project 100% using additional water/sewer fees (the only idea the board has), with one big loan taken out for a gigantic project.
  2. Force the westside to be a Special Service Area to pay for the upgrade ourselves, while we continue paying ~$66M for eastside relief sewer (this was proposed at various times by various board members).
  3. Work with other organizations for project phasing and equitable funding:
    • phase the project, starting with a larger storm trunk and building from there, as old roads need to be rebuilt (similar to eastside strategy),
    • seek grants from MWRD, apply for revolving federal funds to cut interest costs,
    • implement a stormwater utility fee that’s based on permeable ground cover, so paving and building that increase runoff will be deterred or compensated for,
    • and add to the current water/sewer fees.


Wilmette Stormwater (Mis)Management

Regardless of June 26 decision:
We need a more robust long-term stormwater management process, involving the village staff, board, and community.

True long-term stormwater management involves monitoring of rainfall, green and gray infrastructure, and development, with continuous adjustments to keep infrastructure in sync with everyone’s needs, throughout the entire village.

I welcome you questions or comments below.


Read the Meeting Packet for the June 26 Wilmette Village Board, Committee of the Whole, presentation on the Storm Sewer Improvement Project.

Review past westside sewer and stormwater studies:

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