Heavy rains lead to flooding in Hammond, surrounding communities

Chicago Tribune/TNS

Heavy rains on Sunday led to basement backups in over 160 homes in Hammond, the city said in a statement on Monday.

“I know many residents are frustrated about what happened Sunday and I share their frustration,” Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said in the statement. “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.”

The nearby communities of Dolton, Calumet City, and Burnham in Illinois were also hard-hit by the deluge. Videos posted to social media show cars partially submerged and residents wading through waist-high floodwaters.

In a seven-hour period beginning around 5 a.m. Sunday, the north central part of Hammond received 4.24 inches of rain, 2 inches of which were concentrated within a single hour, according to the city.

“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,” McDermott said. “When we get that much rain in a short period of time, the system becomes overwhelmed.”

Marty Wieglos, CEO of the Hammond Sanitary District, said that the city’s wastewater plant functioned as intended during the heavy rain.

“There were no power outages at any of the stations and the Sanitary District was fully staffed,” he said. “All pumps were operating at full capacity.”

At the height of the rainstorm, the plant was treating over 100 million gallons per day, the city said, and the combined sewer overflow basin on Columbia Avenue was discharging just under 500 million gallons of water into the Grand Calumet River per day.

Residents with flooded basements can benefit from the sanitary district’s backflow prevention program, which can provide 50% of the cost of installing a sewer backflow preventer in an amount up to $1,000.