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 gage information at http://ec.dupageco.org/dec/stormwater/watershed/index.html.
Date Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2019