Following flooding events in 2008, which significantly impacted Elk Grove Village, the Village spearheaded a project to improve flood relief capacities of the Busse Woods Reservoir, also known as Busse Lake. Construction of the Busse Dam modification project was completed and operational in March of 2016.
The dam modification consisted of the installation of two hinged gates, which allow for control of the outflow of the upstream reservoir, Busse Lake. During normal operating conditions, the gates will sit at the same elevation as the previous fixed weir dam that was modified as part of this project. The previous fixed weir dam was constructed in the 1970s as a joint project of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) now known as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The fixed weir dam that was installed was based on one single rain event. The modification to the dam, using hinged gates, was modeled on more than 150 rain events over 7 decades.
During a storm event, as the water surface elevation of the reservoir rises, the gates are lowered to ensure that the inflow into the reservoir is equal to the outflow. This allows the water level of the reservoir to remain constant. The constant water level in Busse Lake was crucial to the landowner, FPDCC, to help preserve the many sensitive ecological systems in and around the reservoir and to reduce shoreline erosion.
As the water surface elevation of Salt Creek rises downstream of the dam, the gates then rise to store floodwater within Busse Lake. As the storm event subsides, or the reservoir reaches a critical elevation as determined by ecological studies, the gates are then lowered back down to the normal operating elevation. This operating scheme allows the gates to dynamically adjust to each unique rainfall event and maximize storage within the reservoir. The modification project will help to alleviate flooding, not only in Elk Grove Village, but in downstream communities along Salt Creek as well.
Realizing the regional scale of the dam modification project, Elk Grove Village, along with their consultant, collaborated with DuPage County to model the downstream watershed, optimizing the existing flood control facilities operational procedures with the functioning Busse Dam modification. These Model results have provided DuPage County with additional flexibility on how/when to operate their flood control structures and provide an even greater level of flood protection to residents of DuPage County along Salt Creek.
Prior to the project, Elk Grove Village experienced repeated flooding at two major intersections which caused street closures lasting 24 to 48 hours. These closures resulted in major disruptions to residents, as well as to employees and trucks traveling to and from the Elk Grove Business Park, the largest consolidated business park in North America. In addition, the flooding caused closures of three schools and two churches, left hundreds of residents either stranded or unable to access their homes, and cancelled the Village’s 2008 Rotary Festival and Parade.
Since the completion of construction on the project in March of 2016, the Village has experienced at least two rainfall events that would have caused street flooding and intersection closures. The gate operations at the dam successfully mitigated these events with NO on-street flooding.
Ronald R. Raphael, P.E.
Village of Elk Grove Village | Community Development Department
901 Wellington Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007