Water & Sewer
While flooding at your home is occurring, please call (847) 810.3682.
If your basement or yard consistently floods, please consider scheduling a free consultation. Contact Becky Pocasangre, Public Works Administrative Assistant, at (847) 810-3543.
Below are links to important information shared at the October 19, 2017 Lake County Stormwater Management Commission's "Homeowners Floodproofing Workshop & Expo":
- Structural Floodproofing Measures - Kurt Woolford, P. E., CFM, Chief Engineer for Stormwater Management Commission
- Water and Your Home - Rebecca Raines, Outreach Associate Planner, RainReady
- Flood Insurance Basics - Bruce A. Bender, CFM, Bender Consulting Services, Inc.
The Water & Sewer section flushes the City’s fire hydrants to remove accumulated sediment build-up annually. This will improve water flow and quality throughout the water main system. You may experience lower than normal water pressure and a short period of water discoloration during flushing and shortly thereafter. Though the water may be discolored, it is safe to drink. However, until the water runs clear, it is advisable to avoid washing clothes, especially white fabrics.
Once the hydrants in your neighborhood have been flushed, you should run cold water either from your basement’s utility sink or from a hose outside. This will flush any rusty water out of your water service line. Never run warm or hot water immediately after a hydrant has been flushed, as this could lead to sediment getting into your hot water heater.
Please click here for a detailed Hydrant Flushing Zone map.
- sanitary sewer system maintenance and repair
- storm sewer system maintenance and repair
- water distribution system maintenance and repair
- resident questions
PREVENT BASEMENT FLOODINGIf you have ever suffered basement flooding or had substantial accumulations of water in your yard, it is an experience you will not soon forget. Following an unusually heavy rainstorm, the City receives calls from residents asking why this has occurred. In many cases, the answer is simply that rainfalls of two to three inches in an hour were more than could be absorbed by the ground. In other cases, there may be a specific drainage problem that needs to be addressed.
The information below addresses what action you, the homeowner, can take to help protect your home from flooding damage and how the City is working to ensure the storm and sanitary sewers systems collect and transport water they way they were designed to operate.
Action you can take?There are measures you can take that may help prevent flooding and water damage to your basement. While not a guarantee against future flooding, these ideas may help in the event of substantial rainstorms.
- Install a battery-powered sump pump as a back-up system to your other sump pump.
- Install an uncapped standpipe in the floor drain, if the location of floor drain permits one. It may give you the extra protection needed to prevent a basement back-up.
- If you have basement window wells with drains, make sure the drains work. Clear leaves and debris from the window wells. Also, consider window well covers for basement windows.
- If your downspouts "splash out" as opposed to going underground, extend them away from your house foundation.
- If you notice water standing over street catch basins, either inform the City's Water & Sewer Utilities Section at (847) 810-3570 or try to remove the debris from the catch basin to allow it to take water.
- If you notice that your property is graded so that water accumulates next to the walls of your home, re-landscape to direct the water away from your home.
- Install a check valve to prevent sanitary sewer back-up.
- Do yearly inspection or rodding of sewer lines at your home.
- If you have yard flooding, it may be beneficial to have a yard drain installed.
Sanitary or stormsewer?A sanitary sewer removes waste from the interior of your home. Sources for this may include sinks, showers, toilets or washing machines. These waste waters go into the City's sanitary sewer system and then to a sewage treatment plant on Clavey Road operated by the North Shore Sanitary District where it is treated and then discharged into the Chicago River.
In contrast, a storm sewer provides transportation for surface generated waters. Sources that feed a storm sewer are street drains and inlets, drainage from home gutters and downspouts, home foundation drain tiles, or home sump pumps. Water that flows through the storm sewer system does not go for treatment. Rather, it is transported via the storm sewer system to a natural body of water where it is discharged.
Sanitary and stormsewer systems are completely separate. There should be no connection between the two. They each have their own sources of inflow, network of pipes for transport, and method of discharge.
Below are links to more information on Stormsewer Management:
- A Homeowner's Guide to Healthy Habits for Clean Water
- A Citizen's Guide to Understand Stormwater
- Lake County Stormwater Management Commission
How can the City help?One final note, when basement flooding occurs, always contact the City's Water & Sewer Section at (847) 810-3570. After hours, please use the Police non-emergency number (847) 234-2601. They will notify us to respond to your concern.
Damage to your property due to flooding is an issue which involves you, the homeowner, and the City working together towards a solution. Although there may not be an immediate fix for every problem, over time we will address all areas to see if a solution can be found.
To better respond to residential flooding, the City formed a Critical Response Team. The team will visit the site, assess that situation, and advise the homeowner on what steps should be taken to help prevent a reoccurrence of the problem. To set up an appointment to have your home assessed, call Water & Sewer at (847) 810-3570 on weekdays between 6:30 am and 3:00 pm.
Smoke Testing and I&I ProgramsThe City of Lake Forest maintains two separate and distinct systems of sewers; storm sewer for stormwater and sanitary sewer for sanitary and wastewater. Inflow & infiltration (I&I hereafter) occurs when stormwater enters into the City’s sanitary sewer system. Sanitary sewer systems are designed for sanitary wastewater and not stormwater. In municipal sanitary sewer systems where I&I is particularly bad, stormwater that has entered the sanitary system can easily overburden the system by overwhelming the ability of pipes and pumps to move waste water downstream. This can cause wastewater to back-up and, in some instances, flow back into residences. Excess wastewater in the system also causes pumps and wastewater treatment equipment at the City’s pump stations be overburdened which causes a loss in efficiency, increased operational costs, and ultimately shortens their life spans. I&I also presents environmental concerns. If stormwater is able to enter the sanitary system, sanitary wastewater may also be discharging into an area untreated.
The City’s Public Works Department conducts periodic smoke testing to identify I&I. Smoke testing is a very common I&I identification technique that consists of blowing non-hazardous smoke mixed with large volumes of air into an identified portion of the sanitary sewer system. The smoke travels the path of least resistance and quickly shows up in both public and private areas that allow I&I. The testing identifies broken manholes, prohibited connections including roof drains, yard drains, uncapped lines and cracked mains and laterals.
On January 21, 2020, The Lake Forest City Council approved an inflow & infiltration policy. This policy further outlines the City’s smoke testing and I&I programs. The policy also outlines procedures for identifying and rehabilitating both public and private I&I issues. The Inflow & Infiltration Policy can be viewed here.
FIRE HYDRANT PAINT AVAILABLE TO RESIDENTSThe City currently utilizes contractors to paint the existing 1,320 fire hydrants within Lake Forest, which takes approximately eight years to complete. In addition to our current hydrant painting program, the Water & Sewer Utilities Section will provide hydrant paint to residents who are interested in painting the hydrants on their property or in parkway.
To order hydrant paint, please contact the Water & Sewer Section at (847) 810-3570.
Lead Service LinesDuring September, 2016, the City proactively tested the water of all consumable fixtures at City owned buildings and facilities constructed prior to the 1990s. Consumable fixtures include water fountains and other fixtures. Water from all consumable fixtures at approximately 25 City owned buildings and facilities was tested. The Environmental Protection Agency banned lead solder in the 1980s; therefore, 1990 was the threshold that staff used when determining which City buildings and facilities were eligible for water testing. Click the Master List Water Tests link to view the results of the test .
You can also view the FAQ on Lead Services Lines here.
Utililty Billing: Finance Department
Phone: (847) 810-3620
Fax: (847) 295-2805