Water Conservation

Subsidized Programs for Private Property Flooding

In response to recommendations in the 1996 Stormwater Master Plan and widespread flooding in Northbrook after storms in September of 2008, the Village Board authorized two programs to help residents with private property flooding issues. 

50/50 Overhead Sanitary Sewer Cost Participation Program

Offered on a first-come first-serve basis, the Overhead Sanitary Sewer Cost Participation Program helps property owners protect their home from sewer backups during intense wet weather conditions. Interested residents should consult the eligibility requirements and program process overview.

Private Property Cost Share Drainage Program

Residents experiencing overland, rear, side, or front yard flooding can protect their homes and alleviate standing water in their yards by making improvements to their property that may include: re-grading their yards, installing swales, berms, rain gardens, or a number of other options. Residents with flooding conditions that qualify for this program will be reimbursed for a share of the improvement cost, up to $5,000 subject to funding availability. Village contribution will be up to 30% for projects involving drain and/or pipe infrastructure and up to 70% for natural solutions including swales and rain gardens. A permit and inspection of this work is required regardless of whether or not a property owner is participating in the 50/50 program.

Residents wishing to participate in the program can view the Drainage Program Cost Reimbursement Application and the Village’s Drainage Protection Cost Program Standard Operating Procedure. Learn more and view the Rain Garden Cross Section Diagram. For comments and inquiries, submit a GONorthbrook Service Request.

Rain BarrelsRain Barrel

Rain barrels are available at a discount rate to residents ($25 for each 55-gallon barrel, maximum two barrels per purchase). Purchase from the Finance window at Village Hall.

Rain barrels collect storm water runoff and store it until it can be used for watering. The spigot can attach to a garden hose, landscape tubing, or drip tubing. This eco-friendly solution conserves water, reduces your water bill, and reduces excess storm water that contributes to localized flooding. The barrels available are 23 inches in diameter, 35-38 inches tall, and made of high-density polyethylene. Please be prepared to transport the barrel home, as the Village does not deliver.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when the barrel is full? Is there an overflow diverter?

The barrels have a garden-hose-size spigot at the bottom, so you may attach a garden hose, landscape tubing, or drip tubing to the barrel. The barrels also have an overflow fitting towards the top of the barrel that allows excess water to be diverted away. Find more information by watching the video here

What happens when the water in the barrel freezes? 

Ideally, there should not be large amounts of water in the barrel that freeze. To prepare for winter, drain all water from the barrels, remove any hoses, open the spigot, and remove the cap from the linking fitting. Any remaining frozen water will not be enough to damage the rain barrel.

If a large amount of water in the barrel freezes, the barrel will crack and become damaged, which voids any warranty on the product. Make sure to drain the water from the barrel before it gets too cold!

Is there a recommended video that I can follow for installation? 

The recommended method for installation depends on the placement of your downspout. If your downspouts are extended at the ground or go directly into the ground, follow the video here.

If your downspouts are above the level of the water barrel, follow the same instructions in the video above but instead divert the water into the barrel without making adjustments to the downspout.

How do you divert water from the downspout to the rain barrel? 

There are multiple methods to divert water from the downspout to the rain barrel. First, place the rain barrel directly under the downspout. Depending on the configuration of the downspout, you may have to shorten the length of your gutter. Follow the video here for more information.

Alternatively, purchase a downspout diverter. Downspout diverters can be directly attached to the gutter to divert water to the rain barrel. Follow the installation instructions for the product you purchase.

Pavement Sealants

The Village of Northbrook has banned the use and sale of coal tar based pavement sealants within its boundaries. Coal tar contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a toxin harmful to aquatic life and humans at higher exposure levels. Residents and businesses may still seal their driveways with asphalt-based sealers to protect their driveways or parking lots from weathering. All pavement-sealing contractors working in Northbrook are required to be licensed by the Village. Pavement sealing licenses for contractors are available from the Development and Planning Services Department at Village Hall and cost $60.00. Contractors are required to sign an affidavit acknowledging that they will not use coal tar based sealants and are required to keep Safety Data Sheets to identify the material they are using.

Truck using beet juice to reduce ice on roadwayAnti-Icing and Salt Reduction

Road salt has adverse effects on the environment when it washes off roadways, seeps into the ground, and enters our waterways. When salt levels increase in our nearby freshwater systems, plants lose hydration, aquatic wildlife may die, and water quality worsens. 

The Village of Northbrook utilizes a beet juice/salt brine blend to pre-treat roads before snow falls, which contributes to less salt being used on roadways. When there is incoming significant snow or wintry weather, Village roads are pre-treated so that there is less snow and ice to be melted, resulting in about 30% reduction in road salt used.

Did you know that you can do the same at home? Instead of using salt to remove snow or ice from your driveway or sidewalk, consider making your own salt brine to pre-treat your sidewalk or driveway. To learn how you can pre-treat your driveway or sidewalk with a salt brine, see graphics provided for residential usage and roadways courtesy of Jim Huff and Jeremy Reynolds, Environmental Quality Commission Chair. You may use a watering can for easy dispersal of the solution.