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Posted on: May 18, 2020

May 17 Storm Summary and Recommendations for Residents Who Experienced Flooding

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See Village of Skokie Stormwater Runoff Control Video

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2020

Village of Skokie Storm Summary and
Recommendations to Residents Who Experienced Flooding

The Village of Skokie received 3.41 inches of rain on May 17, 2020, bringing the total accumulation to 7.35 inches of rain between May 13 and 17. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) opened the locks, discharging stormwater into Lake Michigan.  In order for MWRD to reverse the flow of the Chicago Area Waterways, the river must be higher than the lake.

In anticipation of the rain, Village crews drained subsurface storage tanks. Skokie is part of the MWRD McCook Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) system. Unfortunately, that system did reach full capacity during this storm event.

To help prevent basement flooding, Skokie’s flood control program is designed to pond water on the streets for up to four hours after the rain subsides. Since the completion of the Flood Control Program, the Village has increased stormwater capacity by over 270,000 cubic feet on road projects, permeable alleys and rain gardens. The Village will continue to look for opportunities to mitigate stormwater on future projects.

The Skokie Refuse Division will be accepting material damaged by basement flooding.  Carpet should be cut into four-foot lengths, rolled and tied. Other material should be placed in heavy-duty contractor trash bags; the bags must weigh less than 50 lbs. Do not place items in cardboard boxes. There is no need to call for a special bulk item or flood-related pick-up for the next two weeks.

The Village recommends the following steps to minimize health hazards for residents who have experienced flooding in or around their home.

Safety and Health Issues

  • Do not cross or walk in flooded streets even if they appear safe. Be extremely careful about possible dislodged manhole covers, and the whirlpool or suction effect if water is draining.
  • Don’t allow children or pets to play or drink in floodwater.
  • Before re-entering a flooded home or basement, make sure that no electrical or other safety hazards exist. Pump out standing water. 
  • It is recommended to wear rubber boots, disposable waterproof gloves, and safety glasses when cleaning.
  • Remove all debris. Paneling and drywall must be immediately cleaned and dried thoroughly. If the damage is severe, they should be removed and replaced.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to floodwaters, unless the food is in cans or sealed jars. Thoroughly wash off sealed cans in good condition. Immerse the cans in a bleach disinfecting solution made by mixing two teaspoons of household bleach per gallon of water for at least five minutes.
  • Using a household detergent solution, scrub the basement and other areas of the house that have been flooded. Flush the washed areas with clean water. Follow this washing with flushing or mopping with a disinfecting solution of one-quarter cup of household bleach in a gallon of water.
  • Scrub furniture, walls, fixtures and appliances with soap and clean water. Affected clothing and bedding should be machine-washed.
  • Wash hands and scrub fingernails thoroughly with soap and clean water after working in flooded areas. This is especially true before eating or drinking.
  • Children’s toys must be cleaned with soap and clean water, and then soaked for at least one minute in a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water. Do not rinse objects after soaking. Allow to air dry. Cloth toys should be machine washed if contaminated with floodwaters.

Mechanical and Structural Restoration Tips

  • Notify your insurance company.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out wet spaces.
  • Contact a fire/flood restoration company or contractor if necessary.
  • Any gas valve that was underwater (hot water heater, furnace or gas dryer) must be replaced.
  • Burner and motor in heating units should be cleaned and dried out.
  • All electrical outlets that were underwater must be replaced.
  • All electrical boxes, pipes and electric washer and dryer should be dried out.

Residents who experienced basement back-up flooding are encouraged to consider installing a home flood control system. One option is a backflow valve system which only allows water and waste to flow out of a home. Another option is an overhead sewer system, which raises the home sewer system to above grade level. Basement plumbing is connected to an ejector pump and pumped into the new overhead sewer. A plumber can help you determine the best option for your property. 

If you have any questions regarding clean up and sanitation, please call the Skokie Health Department at 847/933-8484. For questions regarding mechanical and structural restoration, please call the Building Division at 847/933-8223. 

To report water that has ponded for over four hours, residents are encouraged to download the Access Skokie App and submit a request, to submit an online request at by clicking on the Concerns icon in the middle of the home page, or by calling Public Works at 847/933-8427.

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