Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pet Owners And Landscaping Debris To Blame For Clogged Storm Drains

A reader writes in:
"Thought you might get a kick out of this... After several months of calls from me and my neighbors to Shiller's office, heated emails with her assistant Michilla, and 311 calls, the sewer catch basins on the 4700 block (Magnolia) are now supposedly clean (as of today). This has been a sore subject for residents of this block because the standing water iced over during the winter creating a virtual skating rink that "iced in" cars, and then this spring brought the stench of raw sewage. Hopefully the problem is solved.

However, look at Michilla's response below. Apparently the problem was from dog walkers dropping bags of dog poop down the storm drains, and the occasional landscaping debris. Uh, how about the countless number of litter bugs in the hood who throw trash around left and right with no regard to the community? Nah, couldn't be them - its those evil dog owners... yeah, them.... I find it hard to imagine a dog owner would go to the trouble to bag their dogs waste up only to jam it down a storm drain. Maybe I'm wrong. Interesting."

A Resident of the 4700 block of Magnolia

Michilla's response:

Hello all,

I spoke with the Water Department and confirmed their promise to clean
your catch basins! So you have relief -for now. The General
Superintendent, who supervised the project himself, said that all four
catch basins on the block are now clean.

A couple of things I learned from the GS (and please share this with
your neighbors as well): Your sewers are being clogged your neighbors
with dogs throwing plastic baggies of poop down the sewers. He said it
appears that someone does that regularly and this is clogging the
vortexes that I described in a previous email.

Also, encourage your neighbors to dispose of their landscaping waste
into a trash receptacle. Do not just brush it down the sewer.

According to the GS, the sewers were clogged with plastic baggies and
cut grass/landscaping debris. I will always help get the sewers
cleaned, but you see it took my office 2 weeks to get you some relief,
so anything you can do on your side to educate your neighbors would be
greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and feel free to ring me with any questions or concerns.

Michilla Blaise
City Services Coordinator
46th Ward Service Office of Alderman Helen Shiller
4544 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
fax - 773/878-4920


  1. What happended to the good old days of putting it in a brown bag, placing it on your neighbors porch, lighting it,ringing the door bell, and then running your tail off?

  2. Ya know, I hate to say it, but it woldn't surprise me if someone actually was putting their dog poop bags in the sewer. I've frequently come across bags of dog poop that were tossed over our gate, even though there is a garbage can right on my corner.

    Ignorance and stupidity know no economic boundaries... of course the Ald. office can be lying too. Who knows? I'm just a greedy, racist condo owner. I'm going to start throwing my dog poop at poor people I see. Bwahahahahaah!!!

  3. Is it really so hard to believe that some dog owner figured that throwing poop bags in the sewer was harmless, and did so enough times to block it--say twice a day for a month?

  4. I'm sure there is all kinds of crap that ends up in sewers. Dog crap, lawn waste, beer bottles or cans, body parts, the dreams and hopes of a restless few for a better neighborhood.

    Woe is me.

  5. At least somebody in that office addressed an issue and followed through. Bravo, Michila.

  6. irishpirate... so THAT is where my Uptown pride is! Dangit, I've been looking EVERYWHERE for it...

  7. Is this a typical tone and a typical response from an Alderman's office?

    Are they just a communication courier? I go to them. They go to the Mayor's people. Then something happens.

  8. I'll admit that I'm new to the neighborhood but it just seems like there is so much criticism of the alderman and her staff but when somebody in that office actually gets something done I have to encourage more of the same from them. Just me, I guess.

  9. Fixed=Good. Anytime you can get the city to fix something in two weeks that is not too bad at all. No reason not to trust the stated cause I suppose. Lawn clippings, leaves, tree debris always seem like the most likely "plugging" agents, but hey, fixed is good.

  10. I am no fan of Shillers, But... bravo to her office for doing something positive on a quality of life issue...

  11. I still like my flaming poo Idea.

  12. Funny, we were told that those drains were stopped up on purpose, so they didn't overflow the system. The Alderman's Office supposedly said the city was using "storm blockers" to keep them from draining. We found that "answer" a little less than credible.

    Dog poop is definietly a better description of what is going on.

  13. You need a device that you can store the poop bag in until you get to a trash container.


  14. 6:30 pm Re: "Shillers"

    Pretty funny, Neighborhood Chicagoese way of pronouncing the alderman's last name, much like in the tradition of "Jewels" and "Soldier's Field."

    One rule of Neighborhood Chicagoese grammar requires that one add an "s" to a word when it doesn't belong, and remove it ("Cub game" "Bear game") when it does.

    I might begin only referring to Helen as "Shillers" to see if I can get other people to start doing so, too.

  15. billyjoe, I see you took your assh... pill today, good to see some things in Uptown remain a constant. I shall endeavour, from this point forward, to work on my apostrophes

    Now, perhaps you can work on adding something constructive in the conversation?

  16. Billyjoe, have you noticed that your posts dissing the spelling, intelligence, and grammar of other posters -- rather than commenting on Uptown, the presumptive reason for this blog -- have disappeared?

    Does the Jeopardy Clue Crew have to visit for you to get it?

  17. Wait a minute... It would seem to me that the sewer needs some serious engineering work if some bags and debris block it that completely. There are a lot more dog walkers leaving poop bags everywhere (if they bother to pick it up at all) closer to where I live near the dog park. But we don't suffer from clogged storm drains... Just smelly shoes.

  18. you know, the girl at 'Shillers' said that it was poop bags when the statement she made later saying was from the city said plastic bags, i wonder if maybe it wasn't so many of the poop bags after all.... i bet she is a cat lady...

  19. Billyjoe, the 8:57 post was left -- by me, as one of the contributors to the site -- for being pretty funny and relatively non-disparaging.

    Posts that exist solely to bash other posters are deleted. So cut it out. And other posters, stop feeding Billyjoe when he's being trollish.

  20. Is it feeding a troll to point out that they live in Evanston and not Uptown?

  21. I wouldn't normally post a "sales pitch" here, but it seemed appropriate (or if not, at least timely) for this discussion.

    We at Soggy Paws are bringing in a completely flushable poop bag. While a lot of bags say they are biodegradable, these really are. They will arrive the week of the 16th.

    Check them out here:

  22. Nothing wrong with a little pug. I mean plug.

    Send the Uptown Update people an email about your biz. "I heard about it on Uptown Update" and you knock off some percentage of the specific item.

    Can I wash some neighborhood people to Soggy Paws for a wash?

    I kid. I kid.