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Protect Your Property

Safeguarding your Possessions
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure and safe place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact information;
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual record of ALL major household items and valuables. Include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information, visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

Prepare your house

  • Check to see that the sump pump is working properly and consider installing a battery operated backup and water alarm alert you if water is collecting in the basement.
  • Clean gutters, downspouts, and inlets
  • Raise electrical components (switches, outlets, circuit breaker, furnace, water heater, washer/dryer) to Flood Protection Elevation (FPE = BFE + 2’; or 627.3 NAVD 1988)
  • Move furniture and valuables to a safe place.

Develop a family emergency plan

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, a first aid kit, blankets, a battery operated radio and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route and know safe routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground.
  • Have an emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

Water in Your Home
If your home or property is experiencing flooding in the form of ponding water, basement flooding by surface waters, seepage or through the floor drains, there are certain steps you can take to help minimize the problem. 

  • If you are experiencing ponding water on your property, consider installing a storm inlet in the low area on the property to collect stormwater and discharge it into the public storm system.  If there is already an existing storm service to the property, and if grade elevations allow for positive drainage and the storm service is in good condition, then you may be able to tie the inlet into the existing storm service.  Otherwise, a new storm service can be brought to the site, disconnecting any existing storm service at the main. 
  • If you are experiencing water entering the basement over window wells or seeping through the foundation wall/footing, providing positive drainage away from the foundation and/or maintaining the foundation’s drain tiles may help in this case. 
  • If you are experiencing water entering through the floor drain in the basement, most likely the sanitary sewer service is the issue and will need to be investigated.  Ensure that the storm sewer and sanitary sewer services are not interconnected, in any way. If it is found that they are, they must be separated, immediately, in accordance with Section 15.24.070 of the Village Code. 

It is important to note that any alteration to a structure or land requires a permit from the Community Development Department be issued with approval by the Public Works Engineering Division.  Also, ANY alteration, regrading or filling in the flood plain requires a permit.

Methods of Protection
Different measures are appropriate for different flood hazards, building types and building conditions.  All methods must comply with the Village’s Flood Hazard Protection Ordinance and applicable Building Codes.  Please always check to see what permits are necessary from the Village. The protection of your home and property could include the following methods:

  • Elevation of the building above the Flood Protection Elevation, which is 2’ above the Base Flood Elevation;
  • Elevation of damage-prone components, such as the furnace, air conditioning units, or other attendant utilities;
  • Protect window wells and exterior stair wells from receiving overland flooding and keep well drains free of debris;
  • Dry flood-proofing of the building so that water cannot get into it;
  • Wet flood-proofing portions of the building so that water won’t cause damage;
  • Construct a berm or redirect drainage away from the building;
  • Notify the Village of any observed maintenance issues relating to streams, ditches, and public storm drains; and maintain all privately owned storm drains so that debris does not obstruct them; and
  • Correct sewer back-up problems.
  • Participate in the Sanitary Sewer Backflow Prevention Program (below)

Sanitary Sewer Backflow Prevention Program
The Sanitary Sewer Backflow Prevention Program is a cost-sharing program between the Village of Winnetka and the homeowners of single family homes built before 1970. Each year, the Village Council budgets certain monies to be made available to the Sanitary Sewer Backflow Prevention Program. The program is administered by Staff on a first come, first serve basis with available funds.

If you are interested in participating in the program, you can contact Susan Chen to obtain the necessary applications and program information and to schedule the mandatory pre-construction inspection. Upon successful completion of the pre-construction inspection, obtain all necessary permits for the work through the Community Development Department. 

Contact
If you have any questions regarding drainage issues, flooding, flood plain, sanitary sewer back-up, sewer management or sewer maintenance, or would like to schedule an on-site visit, please contact the noted Village staff for assistance:

Engineers:

Steve Saunders, P.E., Director of Public Works/Village Engineer; ssaunders@winnetka.org 847-716-3534
James Bernahl, P.E., CFM, Asst. Dir. of PW and Engineering; jbernahl@winnetka.org 847-716-3261
Susan Chen, P.E., CFM, Assistant Village Engineer; schen@winnetka.org 847-716-3532
Mehdi Vakil, Civil Engineer; mvakil@winnetka.org 847-716-3530

Sewer-specific contact:
Mike Rivard, Sewer Foreman; mrivard@winnetka.org  847-716-3264

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