Sewer Services / Flood Mitigation

Operation & Maintenance

The Public Works Department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Village’s sewer and stormwater collection and conveyance systems, which include 72 miles of combined, storm, and sanitary sewers.

Flooding Information


Combined Sewer System

The Village of La Grange operates a combined sewer system (PDF) in which the sanitary and stormwater are combined into a single pipe. In heavy rain events, this system can be surcharged, resulting in flooding that can include combined sewer backups and standing water in depressional areas.

In response to flooding events, the Village has hosted several educational workshops on flooding. View the PowerPoint presentation and video provided at these workshops.

The Village routinely maintains the sewer system through televising, cleaning and sewer lining. Residents can assist in the effort of keeping catch basins clear by removing debris or contacting Public Works to do so. 

Village Flood Control Objectives

Over the last several years, the Village has experienced multiple high-intensity rain events that exceeded the limited capacity of the Village’s sewer system resulting in flooded basements, overland flooding in a number of depressional areas, and private property drainage issues. As a result, a tiered approach to the prioritization of flood control objectives was identified. Tier 1 implements solutions to address overland flooding and water pooling in depressional areas and Tier 2 reduces the frequency of combined sewer backups.  View a copy of the report.

To fund the first phase of initiatives, the Village Board enacted a voter authorized increase in the local retail sales tax and approved increases in the Municipal Utility Tax, Simplified Telecommunications tax, and sewer rate.

50th Street Storm Sewer Project

This project includes the construction of a new storm sewer along 50th Street from East Avenue to Waiola Avenue.  Funding for the 50th Street Storm Sewer was obtained through a 2015 voter-approved La Grange referendum.  

The 50th Street project consists of the construction of a new storm sewer along 50th Street from East Avenue to Spring Avenue.  The Village completed the engineering for the project in 2016 (LINK) and accepted bids for the construction of the project later that year. While the Village was moving forward with the project, the 50th Street project was stopped and has been delayed due to litigation filed by Lehigh Hanson Quarry in McCook.  The Village was surprised that Lehigh Hansen would file a lawsuit because the Village constructed a storm sewer from East Avenue to the McCook ditch approximately 100 years ago. In 1992, the Village learned that the Quarry, without the Village’s permission or knowledge, demolished a major portion of the sewer pipe so that it could excavate the area underneath the sewer.

In 2018, the Village and Lehigh Hanson reached a tentative settlement regarding the 50th Street project. However, the cost of construction contemplated by that settlement was unfeasible. The Village has expressed to Lehigh Hanson that it is amenable to constructive, fair negotiations. In addition, the Court recently ruled against Lehigh Hanson on its motion for summary judgement. Attached is a copy of the Court’s decision (PDF).

The Village and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) worked diligently to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement so that the 50th Street and related reservoir projects could begin.  There are obstacles to finalizing the agreement, and to date the parties have been unable to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to further the project.  The settlement agreement with the Quarry expired at the end of 2020 and the settlement funds have been returned.

The Village has met with representatives of Hanson Quarry on several occasions to discuss the project and alternatives, including at the judicial level.  The Village has requested that the Quarry partner with and assist La Grange with solving this regional flooding problem.

The Village is also continuing to work with the MWRD and federal and state legislators on flood relief projects.  The Village is also working with regional transportation partners such as IDOT and Cook County to identify opportunities for storm water management.

The Village will continue to report on these efforts as more information becomes available.

For more information regarding the 50th Street Storm Sewer Project and flood mitigation efforts, including Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Village website.

Relief Sewer Projects

There are also a number of other long-term initiatives the Village has identified to address flooding, which includes relief sewers.

Deep Tunnel

View an informational brochure about combined sewers and the Deep Tunnel or TARP (Tunnel and Reservoir Plan) (PDF).

Flooding Report

To report a flooding event, we request that you fill out the attached form.

More information regarding proper cleaning of a flooded home is available through the Illinois Department of Public Health (PDF).

For more information regarding steps you should take after a flood, please visit www.floodsmart.org (LINK)

What you can do to prevent sewer backups

  • Have a qualified, experienced plumber who guarantees their work inspect your basement. To protect your home from sewer backups, have a check valve or overhead sewer installed. A licensed contractor and permits are required for this work. These home improvements will prevent sewer backups if properly installed.
  • Disconnect your home’s downspouts so they drain onto pervious (absorbent) surfaces instead of into the sewer system. It is important to make sure the disconnected downspout does not direct water toward your foundation or a neighbor’s foundation. Consider directing flow to a rain barrel or rain garden area.
  • You can connect downspouts to rain barrels (available from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) and other suppliers) to save the rainwater for reuse.
  • Consider replacing your driveway and other paved areas on your property with previous surfaces that can absorb stormwater. If permeable pavers are used for a driveway, walkway, patio, etc. then they do not count towards lot coverage. The installation of the pavers must also include proper drainage approved by the Village.
  • Has your lateral connection been inspected for blockages or damage that could cause basement backups?

Flood Mitigation and Protecting Your Property

View Stormwater Management Frequently Asked Questions related to the recent rain event.

For more information regarding flood control measures, please consult the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management Guide to Flood Protection in Northeastern Illinois (PDF) and Repairing Your Flooded Home (PDF) from FEMA.

For more information regarding flood mitigation and basement flooding, please consult the Mitigation and Basement Flooding Presentation(PDF) from FEMA.

The Community Development Department provides technical assistance to residents in the form of consultations with the Village Engineer and Village Staff in order to encourage consideration of permeable pavers, dry wells, overhead sewers, rain gardens, and bioswales. Please contact the Community Development Department at (708) 579-2320 for more information.