Southmor Road residents seek answers from Grundy County about flooding

A group of residents living south of Morris attended the Grundy County Board meeting June 11 seeking answers on a flooding problem that’s plagued the Peterson First Addition subdivision along Southmor Road.

Resident Michelle Lukomski said she and her neighbors attended the meeting because their drainage district isn’t giving them any answers as to why their neighborhood is flooding. They were told that a broken and clogged tile was found last fall, and it was never arranged to be fixed.

“Due to this, we have all suffered flooding since the beginning of May,” Lukomski said. “This flooding has caused many of us to lose personal items. Finished basements were ruined, and time off work and expenses could have been avoided if the tile had been fixed, not to mention the sleepless nights and anxiety of the basements and our homes flooding.”

Lukomski said that when speaking with members of the Southard Drainage District, they were told things such as: “Basements flood. It’s a perk of living in the country,” or “You just have to keep mopping. There’s nothing we can do for you.”

They attended the Wauponsee Township Board meeting in May and were told that the township has nothing to do with the drainage. They also visited the county clerk to find public records for the drainage ditch district to see if any meetings had been held and if there were financial records or documents of past activity that would’ve kept track of any work done concerning drainage.

“We don’t know when they meet or where they meet, because we would like to attend those meetings, and we are getting answers from no one,” Lukomski said.

Lukomski said Grundy County has a stormwater ordinance, but the township does not. Grundy County also encourages residential growth close to urban areas, but Lukomski said it does not monitor compliance, and the drainage issue is becoming a bigger issue.

“Currently, we have standing water in the ditches that run along both sides of Southmor Road east of School Drive, the ditches on Fairview and Tracy Drive, and School Drive has water sitting,” Lukomski said. “That hasn’t gone away.”

Grundy County Board Chairman Chris Balkema said the board appoints people to the drainage district, so it’s accountable, but the district is a separate entity. There are four districts total, and the other three are active and engaged. The County Board has not been able to reach the members of this specific drainage district.

Grundy County Clerk Kay Olson said she has records of economic interest statements that the district filed every year, but it has not filed a tax levy with the county and hasn’t for a very long time.

Lukomski said she was told by Wauponsee Township that workers found tree roots in the drain, which means it’ll need more piping, drainage and tile.

Balkema said the county will go to work to rectify the issue, especially since it’s going to get worse every time it rains.

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec covers Grundy County and the City of Morris, Coal City, Minooka, and more for the Morris Herald-News