Flooding in Gurnee

With heavy rains and melting snow, the increased runoff can lead to rising water levels in rivers and streams, especially in areas near the Des Plaines River (with 235 sq. miles of drainage upstream) as well as contribute to localized flooding throughout the community. To help protect your home and family from the dangers of spring flooding, it's important to take a few simple proactive measures.

Know Your Flood Risk: Before the flood season begins, contact the Village with any questions or concerns that you may have at 847-599-7550. Professional staff are available to assist property owners with drainage or flooding problems, flood map interpretation, flood insurance requirements, and building protection guidance. Staff is also be available to visit a site upon request.

Keep Your Drainage System Clear: Make sure storm sewers, ditches and streams are free of debris. Also check your home's sump pump and make sure it is in good working condition. To report debris in one of the Village's waterways, please contact the Gurnee Public Works Department at 847-599-6800. Please note that it is illegal to dump materials into a waterway and violators will be fined. If you see this occurring, please contact the Gurnee Police Department at 847-599-7000.

Protect Your Property: If you are a property owner in the floodplain, you potentially need flood insurance. Renters in the floodplain can also purchase a policy to protect their assets. Anyone who experiences flooding or seepage into their home or business is encouraged to take pictures of the area during the event and contact the Village for inspection. Also the Village keeps on file historical information for residents such assessment data, flood maps and photos,

Prepare a Flood Emergency Kit: Keep a supply of emergency essentials on hand, including water, food, first-aid supplies and flashlights in a waterproof container.

Create a Flood Action Plan: Make a plan with your family for what to do in case of a flood emergency. Designate a safe place to go and determine the best escape routes.

Stay Informed: During a flood event, stay informed by monitoring local news and weather reports. Follow any evacuation orders if issued and avoid driving through flooded areas.

By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your home and family from the dangers of spring flooding.

The most dangerous flood hazard area in Gurnee is in the low-lying area around the Des Plaines River and its tributaries. Flooding associated with the river threatens public safety and property and triggers the Village of Gurnee Emergency Operations Plan. If you have not checked the location of your home and its relationship to the flood hazard area on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM) please reference the Flooding Hazard Map. If your property is  shown to be in or close to a flood hazard area, please feel free to contact the Village for guidance on how to protect yourself and your property.

Isolated flooding of roadways and yards may occur during heavy rain events if the stormwater management system becomes overwhelmed. During these events, roadways and swales are designed to flood to protect the adjoining homes. This type of flooding should pose no threat to property.

Basements are a common feature of homes in the Gurnee area and carry specific flooding risk. Being below grade, basements need to have a drainage system to remove underground water at all times. Historically gravity draining tiles were installed around homes to remove ground water. All newer basement installations are required to have a sump pump ejection system to remove ground water. A gravity sewer backup or sump pump failure will likely lead to basement flooding, and residents are encouraged to install backup systems to provide additional protection.

The Village cannot prevent flooding, but we take measures to minimize the risk to the public safety and property. All new development is permitted in accordance with the Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance, and the Village of Gurnee participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.

If you are in the floodplain or have experienced a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, you may contact the Village to review the circumstance of the problem and obtain recommendations for remedial action to stop or minimize future flooding damage. These services are free to all residents and businesses in the Village of Gurnee. All flooding-related questions can be directed to the Engineering Division at 847-599-7550.

The Village of Gurnee maintains an emailing list for information about flooding in the Gurnee area. You can sign up for the flood information mailing list on the mailing list subscriptions page.

The Village of Gurnee also participates in the Community Rating System which gives property owners a 5% to 20% discount on flood insurance premiums.

Elevation Certificates

Flooding limits shown on the Federal Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) are determined by estimating the elevation above sea level for a specific flood event such as the 1% flood (also called a 100 year flood). Structures built in the vicinity of flood hazard areas may have an elevation certificate prepared that measures the elevation above sea level of the structures for comparison against the floodplain elevation. The Engineering Division maintains copies of elevation certificates if they are provided by the property owner. Please contact the Engineering Division at 847.599.7550 to see if an elevation certificate is available for a specific property.

Interactive Maps

Maps are also available at the Village of Gurnee Engineering Division (325 N. O'Plaine Road).