The Salt Creek Flood of 1987 was devastating to anyone who lived in Elmhurst during the time. In August of 1987, Salt Creek flooded about 117 square miles under intense rainfall. Over 13 inches fell on Elmhurst in 4 days, plus an additional 9.4 inches runoff of O’Hare’s Airport over 24 hours, a total of almost 2 feet of water.dam.jpg

The total cost of flood damage was over $200,000,000. The Illinois Legislature allowed 5 counties surrounding Cook County to develop stormwater management programs. The County of DuPage then formed a Stormwater Committee in 1987 after the flooding. The Committee created the Stormwater Management Division of the County.
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The consulting firm American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association was contacted by the county to design a system of flood control. The design was subcontracted to Rust Environment and Infrastructure, Inc. and Woodward-Clyde Consultants. Searching for a high capacity facility focused mainly on Elmhurst Quarry, a limestone quarry next to the train tracks.

The Engineering Team was going to be challenged by designing a structure that would effectively divert water flows from floods from the Salt Creek River into the Elmhurst Quarry. It had many features for flood relief including a blasted rock tunnel beneath the six-lane Illinois Route 83 that can guide the flooded water into the quarry and a vortex drop shaft. These features could help relieve floods and get rid of most of the water.

The construction on the projects started in March of 1993, and it was called “Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Project”. In total, the flood water storage system design included a total of 1,475 acres around Meacham Grove Reservoir, Wood Dale-Itasca Reservoir, and Westwood Creek Reservoir. The Quarry in Elmhurst was proven to be the most economical facility for flood control in DuPage County, Illinois at the cost of around $7,500 per acre-foot of storage.