Midlothian Residents Fed Up With Chronic Flooding
MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (CBS) – After a couple weeks which saw some torrential downpours, uprooted trees, and power outages from summer storms, a group from southwest suburban Midlothian was speaking out Thursday, because they’re tired of their property repeatedly flooding.
The group calls itself Floodlothian Midlothian. There’s even a Facebook page with that name.
“If there’s rain in the sky, there’s not a car in a yard here on this block”, says leader Helen Lekavich.
For the past year, Floodlothian has been gathering evidence–data and pictures – to show to any politician or government agency that will listen that something needs to be done about the repeated overflow of Natalie Creek into and around dozens of homes.
“It comes like a…we call it the Midlothian Tsunami. It has snow caps. It’s like a tidal wave, and it just takes over,” Lekavich said.
Lekavich says the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago has been trying to come up with a solution. She said she’s been told there’ll be a report completed and a plan devised in the next year, but that any fix could be at least three or four years away after that.
“And I’m not on a flood plain. Isn’t that hysterical?” she asked with an ironic twist.
Midlothian resident and Floodlothian member Mary Chiz said sometimes all it takes is 1 ½ inches of rain in an hour to trigger flooding from Natalie Creek.
“This isn’t about our sewers being old, the drains being undersized, lack of capacity. This is now about something bigger than what Midlothian has always told us our problem was”, Chiz says.
In Floodlothian Central, the garage of Helen Lekavich’s home, was spread out this morning pictures with examples of the kind of flooding residents have had to endure. There was also a file box with information the group continues to gather to back up its claims and a large flood plain map of the area.
Lekavich and Chiz said, when Natalie Creek overflows its banks, certain sections of Midlothian get socked with water ten inches to two feet high; and they said it doesn’t take much rain to make that happen.
“We’ve got whitecaps showing up, and it’s exceeding the height of guardrails,” Chiz said.
Lekavich said she only has time in her life for her real jobs as a hairdresser and massage therapist, and for the flooding issue.
“When you wind up with eight floods in nine weeks, what else do you have time for? It’s just cleaning and cleaning and cleaning,” she said.
The mayor of Midlothian and superintendent of the village’s Public Works Department were set to meet Thursday with representatives of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.