The Village of Oak Brook regularly experiences a large number of drainage complaints during the rainy seasons. As a result a lot of time and man power is allocated to researching and resolving the cause of drainage complaints. In an effort to stay ahead of the complaints, Village engineers and the GIS specialist came up with a method of mapping out overland flow paths on private property, along with identifying low lying areas that may potentially gather and hold water accumulation.
As shown in the image, the GIS specialist used a digital elevation model (DEM), along with 1 ft. contour lines to determine the direction in which water will potentially travel through residents’ back yards. By following the contours of the earth, the water will most often lead you to the street, a water body, or a low lying area. By pre-determining the most likely direction of travel, engineers can plan new installations of storm sewer utilities or advise a resident on possible solutions for low lying spots within their yard. This information is valuable to Village engineers because they can not only plan for future capital improvements, but can also research and resolve drainage issues much easier and sometimes without even having to go into the field.