You may have noticed in the last few months a growing number of sink holes and clogged city sewers. I’ve become increasingly concerned that many of these problems were not being resolved in a timely manner. As a result, I asked the Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Water Management, John Spatz, to intervene.
I am pleased to report that Commissioner Spatz responded quickly and dispatched a city work crew whose sole mission is to resolve all the outstanding Water Management service requests in the 49th Ward. If you notice a sink hole or a clogged city sewer, please report it to my office as soon as possible, so we can get the task force to work on it immediately.
In order to expedite your city service request, it is very helpful if you can tell us the exact nature of the problem. Accurate reporting of the problem helps to ensure that the appropriate city department responds.
For example, we frequently receive a report of a “pothole” in a city street or alley when in fact it is a “sink hole.” A “pothole” is a hole in the pavement caused by ordinary wear and tear. It usually is just a few inches deep and is reparied with an asphalt patching. The City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation fixes potholes.
A “sink hole,” on the other hand, is a depression or very deep hole in the street usually caused by a collapsed or damaged sewer or water main. Often a city crew must tear open the street to repair the main. The streets in our ward are prone to sink holes because our sandy soil causes the sewer and water mains to collapse more frequently. The City of Chicago’s Department of Water Management fixes sink holes caused by defective sewer and water mains.
In short, it helps get the problem resolved quickly if you could tell us whether that hole in the street is a pothole or a sink hole.
Similarly, when calling in a report of standing water in a street or alley, it’s helpful if you can tell us if it involves a sewer. Not all standing water problems are caused by clogged sewers. Some are caused by a defective pitch in the street, alley or gutter. Solutions to those type of standing water problems are often very complicated and expensive, and, in a worst case scenario, may require the resurfacing of the entire street or alley and/or the replacement of curbs and gutters.
If you are calling my office to report a recurring standing water problem, please let us know to the best of your ability if a sewer is underneath the standing water. If a sewer is underneath, the problem most likely can be remedied by cleaning the sewer, a task perfomred by the Department of Water Management.
However, if no sewer is underneath, the standing water problem is most likely caused by a defect in the street, alley or gutter. In those cases, we refer the issue to the City’s Department of Transportation, which dispatches an engineer to examine the problem and recommend a course of action.
Again, I would like to thank Commissioner Spatz for his quick response to my concerns. I will continue to work with all city department heads to ensure that our city service requests are addressed quickly and efficiently.
Very truly yours,