For some people that live on or near creeks, wetlands or other drainage-ways, these may seem as a handy place to get rid of yard wastes. After all it is no different than what grows there naturally. And eventually they will decay and fertilize the area. WRONG! It is illegal to deposit any type of debris including branches, leaves, grass clippings or dirt into or adjacent to any creeks, ponds, wetlands detention basins, ditches or other areas that periodically collect and convey storm waters. Besides being unsightly, they can cause obstructions that aggravate flooding. Materials left on the banks or shores will kill the natural vegetation under it resulting in soil erosion. Any person found guilty is subject to a fine of not less than $75 nor more than $750. Anyone seeing someone dumping anything in these areas should call the Public Works Department at 847-705-5200.
Phase 2 of the Clean Water Act
Besides the above described problems, this dumping also seriously impairs water quality. The second phase of the federal "Clean Water Act" first passed in 1972 is underway. The goal is to make all the waterways in the United States fishable and swimmable. Though not too many people may want to swim or fish in Salt or Buffalo Creeks, the water quality in these creeks affects the quality of the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers into which they discharge. The focus of Phase 2 will be on polluted storm water runoff. The source of the pollution can be oils, chemicals and debris washed off of streets and parking lots; fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides off lawns; soils erosion and other contaminates from construction sites and the deliberate dumping of chemicals and other wastes into waterways or storm sewers. In the spring of 2004, the Village passed an ordinance that prohibits the discharge to the storm drainage system of anything but storm water. This includes things such as:
- Animal wastes
- Antifreeze and other automotive fluids
- Old motor oil
- Unused paints, solvents or cleaning fluids
- Waste water like from carpet cleaning
Reporting Dumping & Prosecution
Any person discharging pollutants into the waterways or storm drainage system is liable to criminal prosecution and is subject to a penalty of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 per violation. In accordance with the Federal Storm Sewer Regulations, if anyone sees someone dumping chemicals, paints, solvents or other pollutants into the creeks or into storm drains or streets so that they get into the creek system, or a resident has any other storm water quality or concerns or issues, please contact the office of the Director of Public Works, Matthew Barry, at 847-705-5200. Most household wastes can be re-cycled, disposed of with the normal garbage collection when properly prepared or brought to a hazardous waste collection site. Check with the Village’s Environmental Health Department at 847-359-9090 or visit the Village’s website for further information on disposing of these wastes. It is important to know that every curb inlet and storm drain in the Village discharges into a pond or creek.
Protecting Your Home
Also if you know a storm inlet in your street or yard, a culvert or ditch is important to protect your home from flooding, check on it to make sure it is not blocked by snow, ice or debris. If you have any questions as to what assistance the village can provide in clearing these drainage facilities call the Public Works Department at 847-705-5200. The entire length of the creeks within the village are thoroughly inspected annually and periodically throughout the year especially before and during rain events. To see more about the village’s comprehensive storm drainage maintenance program, check out Flood Control Program on this web-page. If you live on or near any creeks and notice any debris obstructing the flow or the water level in the creek seems unusually high, call the Public Works Department. Do not attempt to clear any blockage in the creek yourself.