Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Living On The Banks Of The Kenmore River

A frustrated Kenmore resident writes:
"Every time it rains, half of the entire block of Kenmore at 5051-63 pools beyond the curb and floods half the street.  There is a storm sewer underneath all that water!  Of course, every time this happens, I call 3-1-1 and place a service request as well as call the 46th Ward Streets & Sanitation office.  For the past 5 years, no one has done anything to fix this problem.

"In the winter, if it gets cold enough, this turns into an ice skating rink and if cars are parked there, they cannot get out and the car is frozen to the street until it thaws.  The 46th Ward S&S office tells me this is normal as long it does not flood the building; however, last year when the Water Department was out to replace our water main, they told me that this storm sewer needs to be vacuumed.  Why can't I get anyone to take me seriously and resolve this problem permanently?  ...and Don Nowatny wants to be our Alderman???  Take a look at these pictures and please tell me this is not "normal."  Does anyone else have this issue in the 46th ward and also have trouble getting service?

"Also, this much standing water is not healthy.  As a matter of fact, you can see the gas/oil slick on top of water.  I am convinced that this storm sewer clogs because of the daily bulk load of garbage being thrown onto the streets everyday from the kids at Goudy school (little chip bags) and the CTA workers who eat McDonald's in their cars and plainly thrown their garbage onto the curb.  We pick up bag loads of McDonald's bags, cups, and containers every single day as the CTA begins their shifts at Foster & Sheridan."


  1. We run into the exact same problem in the alley behind Agatite. We've taken to calling it Lake Agatite, and it doubles as a great hockey rink in the winter.

  2. "...and Don Nowatny wants to be our Alderman???"


    We have the same problem on Magnolia. In the past it has taken several calls to get the problem fixed. Unfortunately, most of the time it is just garbage clogging the drain. Seriously, you're better off grabbing a rake and unclogging it yourself. It will get done much faster!

    And I thought Don made our streets shine? He and his crew should be out there unclogging these messes.

  3. I am so glad I don't own a car anymore. I need to post pictures at some point from last Feb '09 when half my car was submerged under water on Magnolia and I had to climb a tree, jump to the hood and climb in from the roof. Was not a happy day.

  4. I have a sinking (no pun, I swear) feeling that this problem is going to get fixed REAL quick now that UU posted it.


  5. We have the same problem in the cul-de-sac at on Malden, just south of the Sunnyside mall! You should watch people turn around in the pool ... somebody's going to get hurt one of these days!!

  6. Hum. Let me work on this one. Try a little experiment....

  7. This is normal...in this ward. It is also normal for this Alderman's office to have no concept of what is actually normal.

  8. There are several CSR's out on this already, if you call just check the status. (Don't bother Duping up the system.)


    Oh, and FYI Streets and Sans would not handle this.

  9. Of note, there is a "Winthrop River" (though not quite as large) in Edgewater (6200ish) every winter.

    Aside: Nice to know that the little ones are eating healthy food. Chips?!

  10. As the migrating water blob moves through your hood, it's a good idea to snap a few photos with dates on them just for your own personal records.

    You never know what your present or future alderman will say about reality.

  11. Come on folks. All you have to do is clear away the crap from the grate and - oh my- the water goes away.

  12. Buenapk, I can confirm, there is no trash within reach of the grate, we removed it. Now at 7:30pm (rain ended at 9am) and the water is still there. According to the Water Department, the storm sewer if filled with over 15 years of sand and soot which will require a rig to vacuum it. As for the record, this IS the responsibility of the ward's Streets & San department. At that point if they can't resolve, then they can call the City's sewer department, but this DOES start at the ward level FIRST otherwise NOTHING will happen.

  13. I recall reading a few years ago that the city installed devices to slow the sewer drainage so the deep tunnel system doesn't get overwhelmed. The regional lakes are a fact of life now.

  14. in the winter, put the two inboard wheels up on the curb. you wont get frozen in!

    When you call 311, stress the health and safety issue. I called in a month or so ago to report an issue with the metal grates around the trees at 4600 N Clarendon. The trees had pushed the grates up out of the sidewalk. As I was carrying groceries in one day in sandals, I hit the sharp edge of the grate hard and cut the hell out of my toe. When I told the person on the 311 line that I had injured my self, she seemed to take more interest.

    They were on site addressing the issue within the week. Granted - I wasn't happy that they dinged up the trees and the sidewalk getting the grates out, but they got it done and put in new mulch

  15. If more condominium associations began installing rain barrels to divert their gutters from the sewers, they'd not only stop contributing to this problem, but they'd save water and money, too.

    City of Chicago Rain Barrel info


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  17. Those devices are called flow restrictors and they can be removed where they do not function properly. They are supposed to hold the water on the street for a short while during and after a heavy storm to prevent the sewer system from being overloaded and backing up into people's basements.

    Alderman Do-Nothing must typically sign off on their removal but you can bypass her (the best strategy in this ward) and go direct to the city Water Department Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner.

    After all, she's only a legislator and this has nothing to do with city council business. She is not part of the city administration under Daley in charge of city operations.

  18. This happens in our neighborhood too.

    Do everyone a favor and DO NOT vote for Don Nowotny for Alderman. He is the man running streets and sanitation right now and has not responded to our calls and concerns.