In the Sunset Fields subdivision in Northbrook, Ill. (a northern suburb of Chicago), flooding during heavy rain events has been an unfortunate reality for many years.
“The Sunset Fields subdivision in the village of Northbrook is an older community,” said Paul Siegfried, assistant resources department manager for design firm Baxter & Woodman. “It was platted in the 1950s, it doesn’t have any storm water detention, it doesn’t have suitable overland flow routes and the storm sewer is undersized.”
After a number of storm water plans for the neighborhood failed to produce the desired results, the village turned to Baxter & Woodman. The firm determined that creating a storm water storage facility in Wescott Park, which is located in the eastern section of the subdivision, would be a suitable solution to some of Sunset Fields’ flooding problems.
However, executing this idea would be easier in theory than practice. Wescott Park—which features two baseball fields and a small playground—is owned by two different organizations: the northern portion is owned by the village’s park district, while the southern section is owned by Wescott Elementary School, which abuts the park to the south. Therefore, the project would require the cooperation of the village, the park district, the school and the residents of Sunset Fields.
The parties determined that all work on the field would be conducted on the park district’s land, so that one of the baseball fields could remain in use while the system was being installed. This complicated matters, as the project required 23 acre-ft of storage, and the village mandated the maximum height of the storage wall to be 10 ft. Additionally, the work had to be completed in a matter of months so that the baseball field could be ready for use again the following season.
Using a StormTrap precast concrete storm water management system, the village was able to meet all these conditions. In addition, a downstream ultraviolet treatment system allows the village to reuse the captured storm water for irrigation of the field, as well as other non-potable municipal applications.
“With StormTrap’s system, which provides very efficient storage and is very flexible as far as the footprint, we were able to fit that 23 acre-ft and even get a little bit more,” Siegfried said.
Since the project was completed in November 2016, the system has proven its worth during major rain events. “We’ve had a couple storm events this year that, normally, we would have received calls about roadway flooding and potentially some structure flooding, and during those two events, we didn’t receive any calls of that nature from this particular area,” said Kelly Hamill, director of public works for the village of Northbrook. “That was a good indicator to me as the director that this project was actually working the way it should have.”