Roughly 20 percent of our county is covered by surface water consisting of streams, lakes, wetlands and floodplains. Over the years, following heavy rain events, parts of our county have experienced significant riverline flooding damaging homes and businesses in the floodplain along streams and rivers. We’ve also seen instances of flash flooding, which can happen anywhere.
Knowing the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning, finding out how to get emergency alerts, reviewing flood insurance policies, and protecting your property are all ways to prepare for flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides flood safety tips that residents should know before, during, and after a flood.
Wells, Septic and Health Safety
Floodwaters often contain organisms that cause illness. Remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately following contact with floodwater or contaminated objects or surfaces. If you become ill after exposure to flooded areas, (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps), see your physician.
Residents are advised to not drink water from a private well that has been flooded. The water may be contaminated with bacteria and other contaminants. Use bottled or disinfected water for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, washing hands and bathing until you know your water is safe.
The Lake County Health Department offers well water testing kits. Please stop by their office or one of their water sample kit participants to obtain a kit. For more information, visit the Lake County Health Department website.
Heavy rains and floods can also prevent the proper operation of septic systems. Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks seeping into the ground can contaminate surface water and ground water. If you use a septic system at your home, take the following precautions:
- Avoid contact with septic system electrical devices until they are dry and clean.
- Reduce nonessential water use (e.g., dishwashing, washing clothes, showering).
- Flush toilets as little as possible or use a temporary toilet.
- Consult with a licensed septic system professional before pumping out septic tanks, aerobic units, lift stations, or holding tanks.
- If you suspect your septic system has been damaged, get the system professionally inspected and serviced. A list of septic system professionals can be found at: www.lakecountyil.gov/818/Onsite-Wastewater-Treatment-System
If you have questions or concerns about your private well or septic system, contact Environmental Health Services at (847) 377-8020.
If your home or personal property is damaged by flooding, contact your insurance company to determine coverage and start the claim process.
Residents should complete emergency clean-up activities that may include removing water damaged property (carpeting, cabinets, etc.). Once the flood water recedes, contact your local municipality or the Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department (for unincorporated residents) to inquire about a permit to do additional repairs, such as replacing drywall. This is important because officials may need to inspect impacted facilities to determine applicable regulations. Be sure to document your flood damage with pictures and keep all receipts related to the clean-up and repair of your property.
Sandbags and Clean Up Kits
Residents in need of sandbags or clean up kits should contact their local municipality or township office. Sandbags can act as a barrier to divert floodwaters and prevent or reduce flood damage at your home.
Waste and Debris
Residents should contact their village for waste and debris collection information. Those living in unincorporated Lake County should contact their hauler/waste management services provider.
Watch for updates on Lake County's Facebook page and on this page. Lake County will continue posting information as the situation develops.
- Red Cross hotline: 847-220-7495
- Salvation Army donation hotline: 1-888-369-1349