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After the freeze comes the thaw

With temperatures warming up after record-breaking cold the past few days, snow melt and rain can lead to flooding in Glenview and around the Chicago region.

Pipes within homes that had been frozen may start to gush. If a pipe has burst and water is rushing into your home, the first step is to locate the shut-off valve to turn off the flow of water (You might have seen the water inlet valve when your home's water meter was replaced in 2015 or 2016). If you can't locate it, call 911.

Additionally, the freeze and thaw cycle of this winter's weather can cause water line breaks outside of homes and under streets. If you see water leaking from a water main, contact the Public Works Department at (847) 657-3030. Crews have already worked on a half dozen water main breaks since Thursday.

Frozen ground is unable to absorb water and snow, and run-off immediately flows to the sewers. If a sewer inlet is blocked, the water can pool and cause roadway flooding and flow into homes. Glenview Public Works crews have been and will continue through at least Saturday driving Glenview's streets to push snow away to uncover inlets. If you know of an inlet adjacent to your property, you can help crews out by keeping it free of snow.

Once a water main break is repaired, the water that flows through taps in the area may be a shade of brown due to sediment being knocked loose in the pipes. There is no danger of contamination. Simply run any faucet in the house that does not have a filtration screen to alleviate the problem. It takes about six months for the ground to settle following repairs, so any yards that are damaged can't be immediately repaired. 

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago advises these activities can help minimize flooding:

  • Make sure storm drains are clear and not buried under snow drifts.
  • Keep areas around streams free of floatable debris.
  • If your home has a backwater valve installed on the sewer, follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to ensure that it is functioning properly.
  • Check your sump pump to make sure it is working properly.
  • If your home or area is prone to flooding you may want to remove valuable items from basement floors.
  • Keep your gutters clear. When they are blocked, water will pour over the edges, landing on the ground next to your home. If you have cracks in the concrete wall of your basement or problems with your tile, this water could enter your home.