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Council looking for solutions

PRINCETON — Princeton officials have responded to concerns from residents about what the city is doing with flooding problems caused by the April 17-18 rains.

At Monday’s meeting of the Princeton City Council, City Manager Jeff Clawson said the city has submitted a claim to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for the storm damage. Representatives of the agency were expected to be in Princeton this week to evaluate the damage done both to individual properties and to businesses to determine what funding, if any, will be brought to this area.

Also, the city is in the process of getting the Skin Creek storm sewer system checked to make sure it is truly functioning properly, Clawson said. Skin Creek was one of the areas devastated by the April rains, he said.

The city is also looking into the Liberty Village area sanitary sewer and run-off systems and the run-off from farm fields on the east side of town, which could be contributors to the flooding problems, the city manager said.

In looking at how taxpayer dollars have already been spent, Clawson said the city has completed a $4 million lagoon/retention pond on the southeast edge of town, which should hold 4 million gallons of water. During the April rains, the pond received roughly 2 million gallons of water. The city is spending about $100,000 a year on collection system improvements, but obviously more needs to be spent, the city manager said.

Within the next month, the city will implement a pump maintenance program and a pump management program, Clawson said. The pump maintenance program is designed to make sure all pumps are up and running and maintained at all times. The pump management program will be implemented at any given time to make sure the pumps are in the right locations, are running at the appropriate times, with people responsible to oversee them, he said.

The city has also hired a Farnsworth Engineering drainage specialist to evaluate the city’s systems and then put together a scope of work to determine what fixes can be made to solve some, if not all, of the problems, Clawson said. Then the city will need to get some dollars to go forward with those recommendations, he said.

In his comments at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Keith Cain said the city did everything it could at the time of the April 17-18 rains. The city received more than 6 inches of rain during that storm, and just 1 inch of rain on an acre of land equals more than 27,000 gallons of water, which means Princeton received about 160,000 gallons of water during the storm. All that water has to go somewhere, he said.

On a personal note, Cain said he sympathizes with the residents who had problems from the storms. He and family members also had problems on their properties. The city is looking at ways to resolve the problems, the mayor said.

Commissioner Bob Warren said he has lived on North Euclid Avenue for 27 years and has had water in the basement many times. The situation has improved slightly since he had a check valve installed, which he encouraged others to do if possible.

Warren said the city council is trying to solve the problem and has spent a ton of money each year on the storm and sewer systems. More money needs to be spent, but there is no way residents could afford the taxes needed to build a system big enough to handle the monumental storms, he said.

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