Rivers and streams are part of nature's system for carrying water to lakes and oceans. Floodplains are the part of the system that nature made for carrying unusually large amounts of water: floods. Flooding is a natural process and floodplains are a vital part of that process.
Most of the Village drains into two watersheds, either the East Branch of the DuPage River or the West Branch of the DuPage River. This drainage happens through the various "ditches" and streams such as the Armitage Creek, Belden Creek, and the Ardmore Creek. Only a small portion of the Village drains to the West Branch of the DuPage River, via Mill Pond and the West Lake Drive Pond. Normally these ditches and creeks are passive and barely noticeable, but abnormally heavy rains, such as those that occurred in the late summer/early fall of 2009, can turn those small water ways into fast flowing rivers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published new maps for the Village of Glendale Heights in 2005 which identify the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) within the Village and the degree of risk in those areas. SFHA's are determined with reference to the "100 year" flood, which can be misleading. Although it represents the long term average recurrence interval, it may be experienced in any given year. Of special interest is the fact that there is a 26% chance (about one in four) of experiencing such a flood over a typical 30 year mortgage period. By contrast, during the same term, there is only a 1% chance of suffering a fire loss.
Local Flood Zones
As a public service, the Department of Community Development will make a determination of what flood zone your property is located in, as well as provide you with flood risk information such as the base flood elevation and foundation elevation of each building, this information is generally available in our records. Inquiries regarding flood zone information should be directed to the Department of Community Development, 630.260.6030. Elevation Certificates are also kept on record and are available.
The flood zone information will be based on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map and will not imply that your property will or will not be free from flooding or damage. A property not located in a SFHA may be damaged by a flood greater than predicted on the map, or from a local drainage problem not shown on the map.
The Village of Glendale Heights is one of thousands of communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program requires the Village to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances that will mitigate the impact of future flooding, in exchange for making flood insurance available to all Village residents and commercial or industrial properties. Any walled and roofed building can be insured, whether or not it is in a floodplain.
Typically, homeowners Insurance Policies do not cover flood damage. If you are concerned that your house may flood, you should consider purchasing federally backed flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program for your home, its contents, basement, and garage. Contact your insurance agent for additional information about flood insurance. The Village also has available a booklet published by FEMA, Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program which can be obtained free of charge from the Department of Community Development.
Drainage System Maintenance
The Village has adopted an ordinance that prohibits "the deliberate or unintentional disposal of grass clippings, brush, fill, trash, debris, obstructions or unwanted materials into the storm sewers or within or along banks of man-made or natural water courses or in adjacent floodplain areas which may wash into streams and sewers". The intent of this ordinance is to protect the Village wide system of major ditches and the shallower swales that carry storm water to the storm sewer system. The ordinance also allows the Village to inspect and clean these areas when necessary. Please contact the Department of Community Development at (630) 260-6030 to report any violations that you see occurring in your neighborhood.
For more information on what you can do to insure the preservation and proper maintenance of your portion of the Village watersheds, click here to visit the DuPage County Stormwater Management site or click here to visit the Conservation Foundation website.
Flood Warning System
Following the flooding in 1987, DuPage County established the "DuPage County Emergency Radio Network" (DCERN) to provide a 24 hour a day radio broadcasting warning system. The Village monitors DCERN for emergency warnings and also monitors the National Weather Service and the Severe Storms Forecast Center for notices of impending storms. With the multiple monitoring and the upgrading of the warning siren system, the Village can provide up to a 12 hour advance notice of a potential flooding problem. Should the potential flooding problem warrant a direct citizen notification the Village Emergency Services Department and the Police Department have mobile public address systems. Residents may also monitor local television cable access Channel 6, depending on your cable provider, or local radio station WDCB 90.0 FM for additional warning and information.