To prepare for the upcoming rainy season, residents of Chicago’s 19th ward recently attended a seminar that stressed the importance of protecting against basement cracks and leaks.
According to the Beverly-Mt. Greenwood Patch, the event, hosted Wednesday, June 3 at the Beverly Arts Center on 2407 W. 111th St., educated residents on reducing flooding risks on their property and in their homes.
The seminar was hosted by Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) and Mariyana Spyropoulos, President of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association co-hosted the event, as well.
Last summer, the Chicago area saw heavy rains that made flooded, wet basements ubiquitous. Even basements that had never seen a drop of water were filled with several inches of sewage and stormwater. Weather experts are predicting even more “100-year storms” this summer, which will bring a deluge of rainwater to the Southwest Side and suburbs — and even more basement cracks and leaks with them.
The problem isn’t just exclusive to the Chicago metropolitan area. Across the country, an incredible 98% of homes that have basements will experience basement water leaks and floods at some point. In 2013, water damage stemming from basement floods accounted for 26.4% of all homeowner’s insurance claims in the U.S., as well; these claims average more than $3 billion in claims annually.
In addition to taking preventive steps like basement waterproofing procedures, 19th ward residents are also embracing the rain barrel, which can help keep rainwater contained and prevent over-saturation of the soil.
According to DNAinfo, O’Shea, in collaboration with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, has begun to hand out free 55-gallon rain barrels to 19th ward residents. The barrels don’t just help out local basements — they also take a heavy burden off the neighborhood’s storm drains. And the only way to encourage widespread use of rain barrels is to give them out for free.
“Having one home on the block with a rain barrel doesn’t make a dent. Ten homes does,” O’Shea said. “We want to lead the city in rain barrels.”
As the 19th ward takes preventive action against this year’s expected heavy rains, it’s safe to say that hundreds of Chicago homes will be kept flood-free all summer long.
Do you think seminars like these are important for educating the public on home waterproofing and foundation sealing? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.