Des Plaines residents made more than $20 million in flood damage claims between 2007 and 2011, according to a study by the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology.
The study, which is attached to this post, examined insurance claims filed in the 60016 ZIP code and also garnered information from an online survey.
The study found that 2,016 claims were filed within Des Plaines' 60016 ZIP code, the equivalent of about 1 in 6 residential properties.
Harriet Festing, Director of CNT's water program, said that Des Plaines average cost per claim – about $10,000 – was higher than other areas considered by the study. She said the kind of flooding Des Plaines endures tended to cause higher levels of damage.
Des Plaines flooding issues are well documented – in April the Des Plaines river crested about six feet above flood level. The flooding was so extensive that Cook County was one of several declared a federal disaster area.
"People who experience flooding in their basement view it as their individual problem," Festing said. "This study shows how flooding is extensive and that it is a collective problem. Nintey-six percent of ZIP codes in Cook County had some flooding claims."
"It's a community problem and one that deserves a strategic solution," she added.
The study points out that Des Plaines was one of just 19 communities out of 133 that participated in the FEMA Community rating system which is designed to help citizens prevent or reduce flood losses.
Festing said that communities sometimes look at the upfront costs of participating in such a program and not think about the costs that can be mitigated later on.
The study does offer some potential solutions to flooding. CNT's "Wetrofit" program, for example, attempts to address flooding on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.