On Sunday, September 17, 2023, the City of Hammond and surrounding communities experienced a significant rain event that caused over 160 homes to experience basement backups in Hammond. The Hammond Sanitary District continues to monitor and record data from the event so that all information regarding the extent of the storm can be documented. “I know many residents are frustrated about what happened Sunday and I share their frustration. We will continue to find ways to minimize significant storms on our city. The goal is always to have zero backups and we didn’t achieve that here,” said Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr.
The storm came in a series five waves causing flooding in the area between Stateline on the west, Atlas Street on the east, Detroit Street on the south and 138th Street on the north.
Beginning at 4:45 a.m. Sunday, rain began falling in the north central part of Hammond and totaled 4.24 inches of rain in 7 hours, the worst wave being just over two inches in one hour. The Hammond Sanitary District recorded more than 160 basement backups, most occurring around 10 am. Many residents continue cleaning up following the storm. Also, hard hit were the communities of Dolton, Calumet City, and Burnham, all of which had significant flooding and damage.
“We haven’t seen this level of rainfall intensity since the flood that occurred in Hessville on May 23, 2020, when the city had 4 inches of rain in 2 hours. When we get that much rain in a short period of time, the system becomes overwhelmed,” said Mayor McDermott.
“The Hammond Sanitary District Wastewater plant ran as designed and functioned properly. There were no power outages at any of the stations and the Sanitary District was fully staffed. All pumps were operating at full capacity,” said Marty Wielgos CEO of the Hammond Sanitary District.
At the height of the rain event, the Wastewater Treatment Plant was treating the water at a rate of over 100 million gallons a day and the combined sewer overflow basin on Columbia Avenue was discharging into the river at a rate of nearly 500 million gallons per day.
Residents affected with flooded basements are urged to contact the Hammond Sanitary District at 219-853-6413 to report the incident in order to be eligible for the Backflow Prevention Program offered by the Sanitary District that provides a 50 percent match to the cost of installing a sewer backflow preventer on the homeowner’s lateral up to $1,000. Contact the Sanitary District at the same number if you have any further questions.