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Des Plaines Blames Neighbors For Flood Problems

miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) – The city of Des Plaines is blaming Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights for some of its flooding problems.

Des Plaines officials believe their upstream neighbors – Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights – made the flood worse by closing a gap in a levee.

Jon Duddles is assistant director of public works end engineering for Des Plaines.

“We have correspondence with them, stating that if there was a flood, they would flood-fight like they normally would put a barrier wall on River Road and not physically close the gap in the levee.”

WBBM: So did they do something wrong?

“They physically closed the gap in the levee, tying it back into the levee.”

The mayor of Mount Prospect has denied doing anything wrong.

Des Plaines Mayor-elect Matt Bogusz will be sworn in next month, and he says the city is considering its options – meaning, perhaps, a lawsuit.

Des Plaines officials say 800 homes were damaged by flooding.

Duddles says it’s not clear how much of an impact closing the gap in the levee had.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is the agency that oversees the permit for levees and reservoirs.

“I do see this (closing the gap) as not entirely consistent with our permit regs, so I’m concerned about how thorough Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights respond to this issue,” says Arlan Juhl, director of the DNR’s Office of Water Resources.

“I don’t know if it’s as big an issue as what downstream communities are contending, but… we don’t have facts and numbers. When those come out we’ll have a better idea of how big it is.”

The city had an emergency city council meeting Sunday morning on the flooding.

A few residents were there, saying they were upset at the city’s handling of the flooding, but they did not speak out at the meeting.

One woman told us she and her neighbors felt like the “red-headed stepchild” of Des Plaines because the city’s response to their flooding situation was so slow.

Acting Mayor Mark Walsten said at the council meeting that he had received emails from residents who thanked him for the city’s efforts.