"Water flows downhill." This basic truth is the basis for the Village's drainage system. This system consists of storm sewers, channels, culverts and storage basins. All of these work to carry water away from buildings, like your house, that can be damaged if flooded.
However, water can't flow if there is a dam in the way. Orland Hills' drainage system can be blocked or altered when people dump in the channels, plug storm sewer inlets, or build improperly in the floodplain. Therefore, there are Village regulations to prevent these problems.
Every lot was built so water would flow away from the building and along property lines to the street, storm sewer, or ditch. Fences, railroad ties, landscaping and regrading block this flow. So do construction projects in the ditches or the floodplain. All such projects require a permit from the Village.
One property owner recently put a wall along the ditch behind his house without a permit. This was a violation of Section 156 of the Village Code and State law. He was ordered to remove it and subsequently did, at his own expense. Don't let this happen to you.
Here are some things to remember:
- Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or basins. Dumping in our ditches and storage basins is a violation of Village Code, Sections 51.01, 51.02, and 93.25.
- Every piece of trash can contribute to flooding. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. If your property is next to a ditch or storage basin, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris.
- Always check with the Building Department before you build on, alter, regrade, or fill on your property. A permit is needed to ensure that such projects do not cause problems on other properties.
New buildings in the floodplain must be protected from flood damage. Our building code requires that new residential buildings must be elevated two feet above the base flood level. The ordinance also requires that all substantial improvements to a building be treated as a new building. A substantial improvement is when the value of an addition, alteration, repair or reconstruction project exceeds 50% of the value of the existing building. In the case of an addition, only the addition must be protected. In the case of an improvement to the original building, the entire building must be protected.
This rule also applies to substantially damaged buildings. For example, if a house is flooded, has a fire, is hit by a tornado, or is otherwise damaged so that the cost of repairs is more than 50% of the value of the building before the damage, then the house must be elevated above the base flood level.
These regulations are designed to protect you and your neighbors. By keeping the drainage system clear and getting the proper permits before you build, we can prevent flooding and other drainage problems.
The Village Building Department in the Village Hall (349-6666) provides the following:
- Information on whether a property is in a mapped floodplain and related Flood Insurance Rate Map data;
- Information and copies of past Elevation Certificates.
- Records of past flooding;
- Free copies of the Village's Guide to Flood Protection;
- Advice on how to protect a building from water problems;
- Guidance on the laws that govern construction and property improvements;
- Site visits to view the cause and possible solutions to a problem.
Flood maps and flood protection references are also available at the Tinley Park Public Library or www.tplibrary.org
What the Village is doing:
Orland Hills' has adopted a Flood Protection Plan. Copies are at the Tinley Park Public Library and Village Hall. It was prepared by a special flood planning committee that included citizens and floodplain residents.
The Plan recommended a series of activities, many of which are already underway. These include strengthening the Village's regulations on new construction, formalizing the channel maintenance procedures, correcting specific problems on 93rd Avenue, and informing residents about what they can do to protect themselves from flooding.
The flood planning committee meets periodically to review progress and recommend new flood projects. You are welcome to attend these meetings. Contact the Village Hall for more information.
What you can do:
You can implement one or more flood protection measures, purchase flood insurance, make an emergency plan and help the Village enforce its regulations against stream dumping and improper construction. These topics are discussed in Guide to Flood Protection and will be covered in future newsletters.
If you see building or filling without a Village permit sign posted, contact the Building Department at 349-6666. The project may increase flooding on your property.
More information on flooding can be found on the FEMA Website: