Hickory Hills City Council complies with IEPA to prevent water pollution

  • Written by By Sharon L. Filkins

The Hickory Hills Council heard a detailed report on the city’s activities on March 24 to comply with control measures on water pollution as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The report will be included in the 2016 update to the IEPA.

Village Engineer Mike Spolar presented the report on the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is authorized by the Clean Water Act. The NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating sewers and ditches and the areas that serve as tributaries for these sewers and ditches that discharge pollutants into waters of the U.S., creek, ponds and detention basins.

He explained that in Hickory Hills the storm water runoff enters the Belly Deep Slough, I&M Canal, and the Lucas Ditch Cut-Off.

The IEPA requires six minimal control measures that are to be addressed by each municipality. They include Public Outreach and Education on Storm Water Quality; Public involvement and Participation; Illicit Discharge and Elimination; Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control; Post Construction Storm Water Runoff Control in New Developments and Redevelopments; and Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations.

Spolar reported that the city and its Public Works Department has met the requirements of these six measures including publishing articles on storm water awareness in its newsletter to residents and distributing pamphlets from the clerk’s office.

He informed the council that a description of each measure implementation will be included in the annual report to the IEPA, which is due June 1.

In other business, the council approved an application for CDBG funds in the amount of $300,000 for sewer lining replacements.

Also approved was a payment of $96,000 to Hasse Construction. The council adjourned into executive session to discuss a police contract.

In an earlier Committee of the Whole Meeting, Mayor Mike Howley announced that the city would move ahead with a tree planting program. His decision came after discussing a pilot program implemented last year where residents were asked to contribute $60 for the planting of trees in the parkway in front of their residence. It was not successful because residents did not cooperate as he had hoped.

Howley said that the Public Works Department spent many hours calling residents reminding them of the contribution program, but to no avail.

“We have many streets where there are no trees. It is our city and I think we should just take the bull by the horns and go ahead and plant trees where they are needed, without asking the residents to contribute,” said Howley. It will beautify our city and will be something we can be proud of.”

He directed Public Works to send out letters notifying residents that the trees will be planted in front of their homes in the fall and asking if they would consider watering them.  

Public Works Director Larry Boettcher said that it was best to plant the trees in the fall, since they will require less water than a spring planting.