Using Lidar to resolve drainage issues


The Village of Oak Brook handles dozens of drainage complaints
annually, many of which involve multiple properties or even entire
subdivisions. A few causes of these drainage problems vary from sump
pump backup or failure, heavy rains, damaged storm utilities, and river
or stream flood events. In order give the highest degree of service to
its residents, the Village does its best to review and provide a
solution for all of the drainage complaints and issues. One issue that
has been affecting approximately 8 homes within single subdivision has
been hot topic as of recently. The issue has to do with a pond
overflowing during heavy rain events into a street and across residents’
backyards. Multiple scenarios have been brought forward as to why this
pond has a tendency to overflow, but no solid solution could be found
during a drainage study of the 4 contributing watersheds. Although no
single solution was found, it was determined that the storm utilities
were clogged or damaged and the overland flow of water was one of the

As shown in the image, 1 foot contours and lidar elevation points
were used to determine the areas that the water crested over the road
and then traveled through the backyards. Once the direction and area of
flow was determined, village engineers were able to walk the path of
overland flow and develop ideas as to how and where drainage swales
could be added of modified. By cleaning out the storm utilities and
modifying the land that the water flows over, the Village hopes to
alleviate some of the excessive flooding that has been occurring in the
backyards of these residents. Without GIS and lidar data the Village
would have needed a land survey which would have cost into the thousands
of dollars without a guaranteed solution.