Bloomington Council Signals More Sewer Spending And Research On Direct Flood Aid

Aug 17, 2021

The Bloomington City Council on Monday evening expressed an appetite to expedite the next two phases of the Locust-Colton sewer separation project and other measures in the wake of record flooding and sewage backups during heavy rainfall in late June.

Council members also asked staff to look at the cost of additional surveying and computer modeling of the sewer and storm water runoff system, potential construction of two new detention basins, and potential extra matching funding for a program that homeowners can use to pay part of the cost of sewage backup prevention mechanisms.

Public Works Director Kevin Kothe gave a presentation citing many causes for the flooding that affected thousands of homeowners, including: illegal sump pump connections to storm sewers; yard fences that disrupted drainage; window wells that filled up and leaked into homes; berms that trapped water and forced it to find its level in someone’s basement; flat topography on a plateaued ridge of land between channels like Sugar Creek in the middle of town and Little Kickapoo Creek on the east side that drains slowly; combined storm and sanitary sewers; sump pump failures or sumps that were overwhelmed by the sudden volume of water; and artifacts of the urban environment that concentrate water runoff faster than areas that have more "finger" waterways feeding into larger creeks.

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