Contact Information: Evan Shields (630) 407-6022
Monday, September 23, 2019
DuPage Stormwater Management Hosts Elmhurst Quarry Tours Saturday
In partnership with the Elmhurst History Museum, DuPage County Stormwater Management opened its Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility to a sold-out crowd on Saturday. More than 500 people registered to get a rare, inside look at this DuPage County landmark.
During the event, attendees learned how the County uses the Quarry to manage floodwater, along with its history in the community. DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee Chairman Jim Zay highlighted its importance to DuPage County.
“The Elmhurst Quarry has a long and storied history throughout the region. The limestone quarried there provided the base for countless buildings and roads throughout the Chicagoland area,” said Zay. “Today, it serves as a vital infrastructure, protecting thousands of people, homes and businesses from Salt Creek flooding.”
The Elmhurst Quarry was founded in 1883; only a year after Elmhurst itself was incorporated. Crews quarried, and then mined, for limestone at the site for more than 100 years until it was converted into a landfill for construction debris.
Following massive flooding throughout the area in 1987 and a subsequent study of the surrounding Salt Creek Watershed, DuPage County purchased the Quarry in 1992 to use it for flood storage. The Quarry was then converted into a flood control facility that began functioning in 1996.
“Since our initial construction in the 1990s, we’ve added a number of improvements to the Quarry, including gradually switching to high efficiency pumps with less of an energy drain and modifying our weir to allow more floodwater to come in earlier during operation,” said Zay. “We also added a viewing platform that features native plants, permeable pavers, a solar panel and informational signage. It’s a great area for the public to not only learn about the Quarry, but also see green infrastructure and sustainable practices in action.”
With a capacity of 2.7 billion gallons, the Elmhurst Quarry is the largest of five mechanically operated and 12 gravity-operated flood control facilities in DuPage County. Using a predetermined operating plan, DuPage County Stormwater Management staff allow floodwater to enter the Elmhurst Quarry via a 400-foot tunnel, which runs under Illinois Route 83. The Quarry holds the floodwater until water elevations recede enough to pump the water back into Salt Creek.
During flood operations, the public may view real-time video images and rain and stream gauge information at http://ec.dupageco.org/dec/stormwater/watershed/index.html.