Burbank Residents on Flood Problems: “Something Has to Be Done”

Southwest suburban community flooded in July and August

Severe flooding and what the city plans to do about it were a big topic of discussion at Wednesday evening's city council meeting in southwest suburban Burbank.

Many residents expressed being nervous about the rainfall after bouts of flooding in August and July. Some, like Dave Dubois, are still dealing with damage from the last high water incident.

"The first time, an act of God or something, is fine. The second time it's not fine. The third time it's not fine. The fourth time it's not fine," said Dubois. "Something has to be done."

Officials with the Water Reclamation District conceded there are issues with the Melvina Reservoir but didn't identify what those issues are.

"We need to restudy the reservoir," said MWRD Engineer Catherong O'Conner. "How much water do you store in your backyard? You're going to have to have to put in cisterns."

Burbank Mayor Harry Klein recited a list of problems he's identified in meetings all summer long from pumps that have been out of commission to clogged filtration systems. Then, he joined in on the crowd's growing frustration, pushing for officials to expand the reservoir.

"Get in there and take the silt and get it to the level," Klein said.

The engineer's biggest challenge, they say, is the increased rainfall.

"There's a new rainfall standard," said MWRD Engineer John Murray.

A rainfall total from Wednesday's rain wasn't immediately available, but the National Weather Service reported 1.48 inches of rain in nearby Oak Lawn and 1.00 inch at Midway International Airport.

Officials said the latest study on the reservoir will be "expedited" to find solutions to the decades of problems.


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