Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



The Chicago region and flooding: We sink or swim together
Every town and suburb had better team up to prevent flooded basements, washed out roads and overflowing rivers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times
by Editorial Board

The third straight wettest May on record is sending us a message: Every town and suburb in the Chicago region had better do a better job of teaming up to prevent flooding.

Once again, rivers and canals are overflowing, basements are flooding, backyards are turning into lakes, power has gone out and roads are under water. More water — much of it polluted — is flowing into Lake Michigan, raising the lake’s level and putting Illinois’ shoreline at further risk from damaging storms.

The entire Chicago region is paying a high price today for decades of allowing new development to cover the landscape, ignoring the will of nature, galloping ahead of thoughtful solutions about where rainwater should go.

The region continues to suffer from a patchwork approach to flood control. It’s an uncoordinated mess. A smart approach to flood control by one agency or town is undermined by a poor approach — or no approach — by another agency or town.

There is a better way, one that emphasizes green technology and true regional cooperation.

A failure to enforce rules

After years of negotiations, the city of Chicago and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District finally have implemented watershed management ordinances to keep new development from making flooding worse. Developers, according to the new standards, no longer can build or pave over land without taking stormwater runoff into account.

So if you want to put a parking lot on an empty field, let’s say, you’d better include a plan for where the rain will go without further burdening sewer systems.

On the face of it, that’s a big step forward. But environmentalists say the ordinances are not enforced aggressively enough.

And local municipalities still are free to undermine the ordinances by issuing permits for building designs that send more water into overburdened sewers.

Towns just hurting each other

When local communities, oblivious to the larger picture, allow bigger homes and other structures but don’t find more landscape to absorb the additional stormwater runoff, they create bigger headaches for every town downstream.

Water doesn’t pay attention to where one jurisdiction stops and another starts. It doesn’t know that there are separate stormwater agencies for Cook and the collar counties. It doesn’t know there are 133 separate municipalities in Cook County.

Floodwater laps around the base of the architecturally renowned Farnsworth House near the Fox River in south suburban Plano.
Provided photo

Environmentalists say the only truly effective solution involves a much more ambitious and coordinated effort to install “green” engineering. That means finding ways to reuse rainwater or let it soak into the ground through porous pavement, swales, rain gardens, tree trenches, planters and other measures.

But for green engineering, every town and stormwater control agency has to get on board. The Chicago region’s patchwork approach has never really worked, but it’s especially inadequate in an era of extreme weather brought on by climate change.

The storms of the last few weeks could well be a new normal. Chicago’s rainfall on May 14 set a record for the date, and that one-day deluge was followed by a succession of additional heavy storms.

The traditional public works approach to handling all that rain — expensive networks of sewers, tunnels and reservoirs — can’t be built fast enough to keep us dry.

Even the completion of the Deep Tunnel project’s McCook reservoir in 2029 won’t solve the problem of flooding in that corner of the county, in part because stormwater sewers just aren’t big enough to transport water to the reservoir quickly enough.

“Our region’s planning is not keeping pace with the changing reality of the climate,” MWRD Commissioner Cameron Davis told us on Tuesday. “Climate change is upon us, and we can’t engineer the region fast enough to offset that.”

We should be thinking more about sponges — ways to allow water to soak into the ground — rather than letting it run off into the nearest sewer line or waterway.

New regional group

To take regional planning to the next level, a group of organizations — including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Friends of the Chicago River, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, the MWRD and others — is creating a Chicago River Watershed Council to design ways to expand green infrastructure across the watershed and to expand and restore natural areas.

Those involved in the effort already have identified thousands of parcels throughout the regional watershed that can be used for recreational open space, natural habitat and stormwater retention.

It’s a terrific step forward if it leads to regionally coordinated and effective results.

In the meantime, more rain is forecast for the weekend.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Officials Set To Demolish 2 Buildings At Jail Campus In Little Village This SpringAir
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Block Club Chicago

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli’s message to President-elect Joe Biden
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Chicago Tribune

Veterans Affairs Newsletter | First Quarter 2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
Special to suffredin.org

The Forest Way Newsletter
Monday, January 11, 2021
Special to suffredin.org

Suburban police departments are being flooded with reports of fraudulent unemployment benefit claims: ‘It doesn’t make a lot of sense.’
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus live blog, January 10, 2020: Illinois reports 81 new COVID-19 deaths Sunday
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Chicago Sun-Times

New Cook County Circuit Court clerk wants to leave her predecessor’s era behind, focus on updating the nation’s second largest court system
Saturday, January 09, 2021
Chicago Tribune

Chief Judge Evans names three new acting presiding judges of the Criminal, County and Traffic Divisions
Saturday, January 09, 2021
Chicago Crusader

You might not get your COVID shot as soon as you hoped
Friday, January 08, 2021
Crain's Chicago Business

Walmart, Sam's Club to assist in Cook County vaccine rollout • States get more federal aid to accelerate COVID response • Walgreens earnings top estimates
Friday, January 08, 2021
Crain's Chicago Business

Campanelli throws in for another 6 years as ‘check and balance’ against ‘horribly racist criminal justice system
Friday, January 08, 2021
The Daily Line

2 more Cook County court employees test positive for COVID-19
Thursday, January 07, 2021
Chicago Sun-Times

Tax appeals to Kaegi’s office plummeted last year as Board of Review braced for record workload
Thursday, January 07, 2021
The Daily Line

The Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) will open the Affordable Multi-Family Housing wait list
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Special to suffredin.org

Daywatch: COVID-19 vaccine confusion in Cook County, U. of I. saliva test moves closer to FDA approval and a real estate ‘frenzy’ in Illinois
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
Chicago Tribune

Some property tax bills have multiplied by 20X or more since 2000, treasurer’s office finds: ‘People have allowed this to happen’
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
The Daily Line

Homeowners get clobbered by county property tax appeals board
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
Crain's Chicago Business

Judge Erica Reddick becomes 1st woman to head Cook County Criminal Court
Monday, January 04, 2021
Chicago Sun-Times

CCDPH Vaccine Distribution Town Hall
Monday, January 04, 2021
Special to suffredin.org

Update: Suburban Cook County offering COVID-19 vaccine form for health care workers only
Monday, January 04, 2021
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP