Sunday, October 1, 2017

Elmhurst Quarry Flood Control Facility

There is an abandoned quarry just east of Salt Creek in Elmhurst, IL. I learned about this quarry because of the announcement of a tour of it to be held September 23. Unfortunately, it had filled up by Sept. 6. But now that I know the name of the facility, I can find better views of it than I would get on a tour.
It is divided into East and West Lobes by the rock wall that holds West Avenue. The East Lobe is 200 feet deep and always contains water.

The Chicago River has been dredged enough times to accommodate ships that sailed the Great Lakes so it is wide and deep enough that the river itself does not flood. (Chicago's main flooding problem is its combined sewer system.) But DuPage County has small rivers such as Salt CreekEast Branch DuPage River, and West Branch DuPage River. When we moved to DuPage County in 1973, there was still a lot of farmland in the county. In fact, there was a corn field next to our appartment's parking lot, and we once communed with nature in the form of a mouse. But by the 1980s, enough of DuPage County had been built up that these small rivers were significantly overflowing their banks and flooding businesses and homes.

By the 1990s, the various suburbs figured out how to cooperate to fund building storm water retention facilities. The following diagram shows the structures added to the abandoned quarry to divert water from Salt Creek when it is about to go over its banks.

You are supposed to be able to click a name and get a picture of the structure. But that is broke. I did send them an email letting them know their diagram is broke. Fortunately, Google's 3D satellite images work well in this area so I can do my own pictures. When the water level of Salt Creek exceeds the height of the spillway along the bank, the water will flow to an opening on the south side of the spillway and drop down to a tunnel under IL-83 that emerges from the west wall of the West Lobe. The water will flow on a stone channel across the West Lobe, through a keyway under West Avenue, and into the East Lobe. After the East Lobe gets full enough, water will be stored in both lobes. After the water level in Salt Creek goes down, the pumping stations are used to pump the water over an aerator and back into the river.

Comparing the images from Google and Bing, it appears the Google image caught the reservoir with some runoff in it.

The capacity is 8,600 acre-feet or 2.7 billion gallons. In 2008 it almost filled up.
Jerry Jackson commented on his posting
[Note the front of a C&NW locomotive on the right-hand side of the photo showing that it was rail served back then.]

Jerry Jackson posted
Moar Elmhurst, IL. Passing Elmhurst-Chicago Stone eastbound. 1990.
Rick Burn posted
These photos were taken 58 years ago in August 1960 on First Street on the west side of Elmhurst showing the Elmhurst Chicago Stone Quarry operations. The locomotive in the second picture is on First Street going across to interchange with the CNW.

I was looking for the rail spur to this facility. The 1938 aerial was basically a blob of white. But this Google Earth image shows it coming in at Highland Avenue.
April 1993 Google Earth Pro
Once I knew were to look, there is still a remnant on both sides of 1st Street, including the turnout!

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