Flood Control Program

The Village of Palatine’s residential and recreational areas are dotted with a network of creeks, wetlands, reservoirs, and detention/retention basins. These bodies of water contribute a sense of beauty and tranquility to the community, as well as providing habitat for fish, waterfowl, and vegetation. But these bodies of water have a very practical use as well. They are essential components of the Village’s multi-faceted flood control program.

Flood Control: The Big Picture

Storm sewers, detention/retention basins, reservoirs, wetlands, and creeks are all part of the network of natural and man-made facilities designed to hold rainwater and carry it away from developed areas. Each component is dependent upon the others, yet each plays its own vital and unique role in the overall flood control plan.

Storm Sewers

Storm sewers are designed to carry rainwater runoff from developed areas to the creek system. When the volume of water runoff exceeds the capacity of the storm sewer, the excess water is diverted to a nearby detention/retention basin. These basins act as a temporary storage area for the excessive amount of storm water which enters the system during a particularly heavy rainstorm.


Creeks provide open channels where large amounts of storm runoff can be accommodated and moved along a natural path. When the volume of runoff exceeds the creek’s capacity, the excess is diverted to reservoirs.


Reservoir not only store the excess runoff but, more importantly, they limit the downstream flow of creeks, thereby reducing the risk of flooding.


Wetlands provide a variety of benefits to the environment, from filtering out contaminants to providing wildlife habitats. Wetlands also store excessive storm water runoff, thereby reducing the amount of storm water going into the creek system.

The creeks, storm sewers, reservoirs, detention/retention basins, and wetlands all work together to reduce the risk of flooding. One system provides a "backup" for the other when heavy, prolonged rainfall might otherwise cause serious flooding problems in developed areas.

New Developments

People often mistakenly assume that new residential or commercial developments will increase the risk of flooding. In fact, the reverse if often true. Federal law prohibits disturbing wetlands which play a vital role in flood control, and Village regulations require carefully-designed flood control measure (storm sewers, detention/retention basins, and reservoirs) to properly handle storm water runoff. In many cases, flooding is less of a concern after the property is developed and the appropriate flood control measures are taken.

Maintenance: Keeping a Good Thing Going

The Village of Palatine Department of Public Works carefully maintains all components of the flood control programs to assure that the entire system works efficiently and effectively. The ongoing maintenance program includes:


  • Annual inspection and cleaning
  • Brush and tree removal
  • Dredging and alignment
  • Installation of erosion control
  • Repair of storm sewer outlets


  • Annual inspection and cleaning
  • Repair of sewer mains, inlets, catch basins, and manholes
  • Installation of additional sewers in areas experiencing drainage problems

Detention / retention basins:

  • Annual inspection
  • Cleaning and repair of control structures
  • Dredging


  • Annual inspection
  • Cleaning and repair of control structures


  • Annual inspection
  • Cleaning and repair of control structures

Your Cooperation: A Vital Part of the Success of the Program

There area number of things you can do - and not do - to keep the flood control system working:

  • Do not dispose of grass clippings or brush on creek banks. These yard waste materials are not only unsightly, they damage bank vegetation, thereby causing erosion as well as working their way into the creek and obstructing the flow of water.
  • Help keep storm sewer inlets free of obstructions. If you see leaves, paper, branches, or ice obstructing an inlet, please remove the items so that the storm water runoff from the street can flow unobstructed.
  • Call the Department of Public Works to report any sudden ground settlement. Sudden settlement may indicate a collapsed sewer or other problem which needs to be corrected.
  • Never dump yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves, or brush into a detention/retention basin.
  • Call the Department of Public Works to report any inlet which is allowing a large volume of water to remain on the street.
  • Remove debris in the street or creek bank to keep it from working its way into the creek or storm sewer system.

If you observe a problem or have a question which we can answer, please call us at 847-705-5200. Working together, we can keep the Village of Palatine flood control system working at peak efficiency for the benefit of all.