In November, the Village of Northbrook, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and Northbrook Park District officials announced the completion of the Wescott Park Stormwater Storage Facility in Northbrook. The $9.65 million facility ($10.3 million including design and construction engineering) located under a baseball field will provide 7.5 million gallons (20 acre-feet) of underground storage capacity and a new storm sewer along Farnsworth Lane to supplement the existing sewer. Together, these features should help reduce the frequency and severity of flooding along Farnsworth, Ellendale Drive, Sunnyside Circle, and Fieldwood Drive which affects streets, 91 neighborhood properties and 12 structures in the neighborhood during heavy rains. The construction is expected to improve protection from an estimated 5-year storm at present up to events expected once every 25 years.
The Wescott Park project also includes a rain harvesting system which will enable both the Village and the Park District to reuse water captured during rain storms. The lawn irrigation system for Wescott Park will use the stormwater. Northbrook will also be able to pump stormwater into truck-mounted tanks for watering new parkway trees or cleaning streets and sewers. The storage vault will be electronically controlled so that it will completely drain itself before an incoming storm. Although such facilities have been constructed elsewhere in the United States, Northbrook appears to be the first to bring this technology to Northeast Illinois. MWRD is funding this storm water reuse component at the cost of $475,000.
A variety of alternatives – including an above-ground solution (projected to cost about $5 million), and a hybrid above- and below-ground solution (about $9 million) – were evaluated before Northbrook settled on the current below-ground storage system.
This project is one part of Northfield’s master Stormwater Management Plan originally completed in August 2011 which identified 22 different potential drainage improvements throughout the village.