The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Information: Mary Mitros, 630.407.6706

Monday, November 05, 2012

DuPage County Stormwater Management, Bower Elementary Host Ribbon Cutting of Flood Control Improvement Project

DuPage County Stormwater Management and Community Unit School District 200 hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the completion of a flood control improvement project at Bower Elementary School (Warrenville).

Stormwater Management oversaw design and construction of a berm enhancement outside of Bower to protect the school from flooding of the adjacent West Branch DuPage River. The improvement to the school’s existing berm follows a flood in 2008 that caused the school to close for a week. When Bower reopened, the students and staff used only half of the building as the reconstruction of the flooded portions took place during the next six months of the school year. 

According to Bower Principal Mark Kohlmann, “While students, staff and parents really came together after the flood to focus on teaching and learning, as a building leader, I am so appreciative to know we will likely never have to go through something like that again.”

Warrenville Mayor David Brummel applauded the intergovernmental cooperation following the flood.

“Following the 2008 event, DuPage County Stormwater Management, the City of Warrenville, Community Unit School District 200 and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County all worked together to identify and implement solutions to prevent a reoccurrence,” said Mayor Brummel. “During that time, we saw intergovernmental cooperation at its best.”

During the event, DuPage County Stormwater Management Planning Committee Chairman Jim Zay, Community Unit School District 200 Superintendent Brian Harris, and Mayor Brummel all spoke about the flood control improvement project, as well as additional projects on the West Branch DuPage River.

The Bower Elementary School berm enhancement is part of the larger West Branch DuPage River Flood Mitigation Project aimed at reducing flooding in an area of Warrenville. The second phase of the project – the West Branch River Restoration – will provide flood control benefits and restoration to a stretch of the West Branch DuPage River beginning at Warrenville Road extending through the McDowell Grove Forest Preserve.

“The flooding in 2008 prompted Stormwater Management to look for ways to implement flood control solutions along the West Branch DuPage River in this area of Warrenville,” said Chairman Zay. “We found we could significantly reduce the risk of flooding and associated damages for Bower Elementary School and the surrounding area by improving the existing flood control systems and restoring portions of the West Branch.”

“Now that the first phase of that project – the successful construction of the berm at Bower – is complete, I look forward to continued success as we begin the second phase of the Flood Mitigation Project,” said Zay.

The berm was also constructed alongside the thorium removal project on the West Branch DuPage River. Contractors ensured they excavated all contaminated soil and replaced it with new soil prior to the beginning of the school year.

Before the ceremony, Stormwater Management provided a demonstration to the 5th grade students on how the newly constructed berm will protect the school using a 3D watershed model. A majority of these students attended the school when flooding forced it to close temporarily four years ago.