Since the devastating 2008 flood that hit the Village of Niles and the region with over 9.5 inches of water, there have been four record rainfalls - two of which were declared disasters by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events in Niles has noticeably increased in recent years.” States stormwater engineer Jeff Wickenkamp of Hey and Associates. “When comparing the last five years to the previous 19, rainfall events greater than three inches have occurred three times more often and have produced an average of 33% more rain per event.”
As a result of the first 2008 flood, the Village of Niles embarked on a study that ultimately resulted in a $32M Stormwater Relief Program that includes new sewer infrastructure, reservoirs, and a flood assistance program. The first tier of this program was approved June of 2012 and is funded by a .25% sales tax increase.
The Village of Niles immediately hired Hey and Associates to complete preliminary design and engineering of the three Tier-1 Stormwater Relief Program projects. The three projects being engineered include:
- Cleveland Relief Sewer - a new stormwater relief sewer to provide flood relief to properties near Cleveland Avenue, east of Osceola
- Main Street Relief Sewer and Storage - Provide storage facility and storm sewer improvements near Milwaukee / Main. Sewer improvements along Lee Street and Main Street combined sewers
- West Side Storage Basins: Construction of detention basins at one or two locations and associated connecting sewers
Mayor Andrew Przybylo is announcing efforts to accelerate the engineering for these projects, so that construction begins the Spring of 2014. “We want to break this cycle of fear residents feel every time it storms and replace that fear with knowledge and promise.” Mayor Przybylo stated, “The residents of Niles will get through the travesty of this harsh weather together.”