For more information on flood hazards, construction rules, or flood protection measures, Contact:
The City of Calumet City Department of Inspectional Services
670 Wentworth Avenue
Calumet City residents that live near the Little Calumet River may be in a Special Flood Hazard Area. We want you to be aware of the hazard and what can be done to reduce flood damage. This information is sent annually to all properties located in the Special Flood Hazard Area as delineated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is part of the City’s effort to save residents money by reducing flood insurance premiums.
Flooding can impact all our lives, and whether or not you live in the officially designated floodplain, you are at risk of flooding.
The City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), providing you the opportunity to have a flood insurance policy to cover damages from a flood. The City also participates in the Community Rating System, a program that helps the City floodplain residents save money on their flood insurance premiums.
The links above can be used to access additional information on Flood Insurance, Flood levels on the Little Calumet River, Flood Hazard, Flood Safety, and Flood Protection.
For more information on whether your property is in the floodplain, construction rules, or flood protection measures, contact the City of Calumet City Department of Inspectional Services, located at 670 Wentworth Avenue, or call (708) 891-8120.
Flood insurance is highly recommended and most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover a property for flood damage.
The City of Calumet City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Here are some quick facts about flood insurance:
- Any insurance agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates.
- Any house can be covered by a flood insurance policy.
- Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the lot’s main building.
- Separate coverage can be obtained for the building’s structure and its contents (except for money, valuable papers, and the like). The structure generally includes everything that stays with a house when it is sold, such as the furnace, cabinets, and built-in appliances.
- Renters can buy contents coverage, even if the owner does not buy structural coverage on the building.
- Several insurance companies have sump pump failure or sewer backup coverage that can be added to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Each company has different amounts of coverage, exclusions, deduct¬ibles, and arrangements. Most are riders that cost extra.
Floodplain Information Services
The City can help you determine if a property is in or near the floodplain. The Flood Insurance Rate Maps are available at the Department of Inspectional Services located at 670 Wentworth Avenue and the Calumet City Public Library.
- To find out if you are in the floodplain call the Department of Inspectional Services at (708) 891-8120 or go to the Adult Services desk at the library and look at the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
- An Elevation Certificate records the lowest floor elevation of a structure and is prepared by a licensed professional Land Surveyor or Civil Engineer. If the elevation of a structure is shown to be above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in the Special Flood Hazard Area the owner may apply for a Letter of Map Revision from FEMA in order to be removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area. Elevation certificates are available to the public for review at The Department of Inspectional Services at (708) 891-8120. Please note: if any alteration to the structure has taken place such as a window or door at ground level, a new Certificate of Elevation will need to be obtained.
Little Calumet River Flood Stage Information
Select this link to view the Real-time Flood Stage on the Little Calumet River at Cottage Road Avenue in South Holland.
During a flood event, predictions are provided. The flood stages are:
- Major Flood Stage: 20
- Moderate Flood Stage: 18
- Flood Stage: 16.5
- Action Stage: 15
The four most recent flood levels were 20.5 ft on:
- 11/29/1990 20.01 on 7/19/1996
- 20.16 on 9/14/2008,
- 18.61 on 4/18,2013
Overbank flooding: While the Grand Calumet River poses little threat of flooding, the Little Calumet River, generally known as the Little Cal, has had 6 major floods since 1981. After flooding in 1981 and 1982, a levee was constructed along the banks of the river. The levee has kept most of the City safe from flooding over the years but that sense of security was erased following the highest recorded flood in November 1990. Additional flood protection has been provided by the construction of The Thornton Transitional Reservoir, but flooding in September 2008, due to record rainfall from Hurricane Ike, shows that overbank flooding remains a concern along the Little Cal.
Local drainage: Calumet City’s local drainage problems are primarily due to backed-up combined sewers and storm sewers. The sewers are designed to drain streets and carry sanitary sewage to treatment facilities. When they are blocked or overloaded by heavy rains, local street and neighborhood flooding can occur. Stormwater can sit for hours or days, waiting for the sewers to clear. Most recently the flooding in August 2006 occurred after a short intense rainfall.
Sewer backup: With no place to go, sewers back up and flow into the lowest opening, often basements or up into streets. With the completion of many local sewer improvement projects, the Deep Tunnel connection in 1996 and the quarry; the combined sewers have been better able to handle their wet weather flows.
Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number-one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there before you go through an area where the water is not flowing.
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out. A car can float in as little as two feet of water.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to
Turn off your electricity if your building is flooded. If you don’t feel safe doing this, call an electrician. Some appliances, such as television sets, can shock you even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, dried, and inspected by a professional.
Watch for animals. Small animals like rats and snakes that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn items over and scare away small animals.
Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been thoroughly aired out. If you have questions about gas, call 1-888-NICOR4U.
Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly — cook with charcoal outdoors.
Clean everything that got wet. Floodwaters have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings. Spoiled food and flooded cosmetics and medicines are health hazards. When in doubt, throw them out.
Take good care of yourself. Wear gloves and boots. Wash your hands frequently during clean-up. Recovering from a flood is a big job. It is tough on both the body and spirit and the effects a disaster has on you and your family may last a long time. Keep your eyes open for signs of anxiety, stress, and fatigue in you and your family.
City, state, and federal regulations prohibit construction and repairs in the floodplain without a permit. Even fences and swimming pools require permits. Always check with the Department of Inspectional Services before you build, repair, add any fill, change or regrade your property.
Dumping in a stream or storage basin is a violation of the City Code. Every piece of trash can contribute to flooding. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels and storm drains. If you see dumping or debris in the river or basins, filling or construction near property lot lines, or filling or construction in the floodplain without a permit sign posted, contact the Department of Inspectional Services at 708/891-8120.
Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
- Read about flood safety
- Develop a plan on how you and your family can stay safe, visit FEMA’s website www.ready.gov for more information
- Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
- Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
- Make a household inventory, especially of basement contents.
- Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc. in a safe place.
- Collect and put cleaning supplies, camera, waterproof boots, etc. in a handy place.
- Visit the Red Cross website and get a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home.
Consider some permanent flood protection measures.
- Mark your fuse/breaker box, turning off the power to the basement can reduce damages and save lives.
- Consider elevating your house above flood levels.
- Check your building for water entry points. These can be basement windows, the basement stairwell, doors, and dryer vents. These can be protected with low walls or temporary shields.
- Install a floor drain plug, standpipe, overhead sewer, or sewer backup valve to prevent sewer backup flooding.
- More information can be found in Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six
- Note that some flood protection measures may need a building permit and others may not be safe for your type of building, so be sure to talk to Inspectional Services.
- If you are interested in elevating your building above the flood level or selling it to the City, we may apply for a Federal grant to cover 75% of the cost. If you are interested, contact the Department of Inspectional Services.
Maintaining the capacity of the rivers and any local ditches requires your cooperation and assistance. The following information includes an explanation of our regulations and some advice on how to protect property and lives. These regulations are designed to protect you and your neighbors. By keeping the drainage system clear and getting the proper permits before you build, we can prevent flooding and other drainage problems.
- Every piece of trash can contribute to flooding. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. If your property is next to the river or a storage basin, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris.
- DO NOT DUMP OR THROW ANYTHING INTO THE RIVER OR BASINS. Dumping in a stream or storage basin is a violation of the City Code. If you see dumping or debris in the river or basins, filling or construction near property lot lines, or filling or construction in the floodplain without a permit sign posted, contact the Department of Inspectional Services at (708) 891-8120. The debris or project may cause flooding on your property.
- Always check with the Department of Inspectional Services before you build on, fill, alter, or regrade your property. A permit is needed to ensure that such projects do not cause problems on other properties.
New buildings in the floodplain (the shaded A Zone shown on page 2) must be protected from flood damage. Our building code requires that new residential buildings must be elevated one foot above the base flood level.
The ordinance also requires that all substantial improvements to a building be treated as a new building. A substantial improvement is when the value of an addition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction project exceeds 50% of the value of the existing building. In the case of an addition, only the addition must be protected. In the case of an improvement to the original building, the entire building must be protected.
For example, if a house in the floodplain is flooded, has a fire, is hit by a tornado, or is otherwise damaged so that the cost of repairs is more than 50% of the value of the building before the damage, then the house must be elevated above the base flood level.
For more information on the flood hazard, flood protection measures, or construction rules contact the City of Calumet City Department of Inspectional Services, at (708) 891-8120
For information on repairing your home please see the Red Cross manual Repairing Your Flooded Home.
Filing an insurance claim
Step 1. Contact your agent to report your loss:
- Have ready the name of your insurance company (your agent may write policies for more than one company),
- policy number
- a phone number and/or e-mail address where you can be reached.
- If you get in touch with your agent or company representative directly, they will advise you on how to file your notice of claim. Otherwise, you must send a written notice to your insurance company with your policy number.
Step 2. Separate your property:
- Your policy requires you to separate damaged property from undamaged property.
- Don’t throw anything away before an adjuster has seen it.
- If local officials require damaged items to be thrown out, take photos before disposing of them and keep samples for the adjuster to see (for example, cut out a piece of wall-to-wall carpet).
- Do all you can to protect undamaged property.
Step 3. Make a list of damaged contents:
- If you have contents coverage, make a list of damaged property. List the quantity of each item, a description, brand name, where purchased, its cost, model and serial number (if appropriate), and your estimate of the loss amount. Attach your bills, receipts, photos, and any other documents.
Step 4. List areas of structural damage:
- As you look over your property, make a list of any areas of structural damage you want to point out to the adjuster.
- If you have damage estimates prepared by one or more contractors, provide them to the adjuster since they will be considered in the preparation of your repair estimate.
When the adjuster comes:
- Generally, your adjuster will contact you within 48 hours after receiving your notice of loss. However, depending on local conditions and the severity of flooding, it may take more time.
- Once the adjuster reaches you, a time will be set for the adjuster to view your property.
- During the visit to your property, the adjuster will take measurements and photographs and note the flood damage. This is called “scoping” a loss.
- You are encouraged to point out all damage you have noticed.
- The adjuster uses the knowledge gained from the visit(s) – and the documentation you provided to complete a detailed estimate of damage. You will get a copy.
- You may ask the adjuster for an advance or partial payment. If you have a mortgage, your mortgage company will need to sign the building property advance check.
- Your official claim for damage is called Proof of Loss.
– It includes a detailed estimate to replace or repair the damaged property.
– It must be fully completed, signed, and in the hands of your insurance company within 60 days after the loss occurs.
– In most cases, the adjuster, as a courtesy, will provide you with a suggested Proof of Loss.
– You are responsible for making sure that it is complete, accurate, and filed in a timely manner.
– Be sure to keep a copy of the Proof of Loss and all supporting documents for your records.