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The Village of Harwood Heights - Established 1947

Main Phone Number - 708-867-7200
Tue November 21, 2017
A small town of big opportunities.
Engineering Department

The Engineering Division is responsible for the continual evaluation of all public infrastructure in the Village of Harwood Heights. Public infrastructure includes all improvements to the surface of the earth - such as streets, sidewalks, curb and gutter, overland flow routes, street lighting, roadway signage, traffic signals, water towers, pumps, reservoirs, and parkway trees. All underground utilities are also evaluated by the Engineering Division. The underground infrastructure includes water mains, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer. Every component of the Village of Harwood Heights infrastructure is continually evaluated to ensure that residents will be provided with appropriate service at all times. The Engineering Division prepares lists of improvement projects to be completed each year in order to keep all systems in good working order.

Development Review

The Engineering Division reviews and approves all private developments in order to ensure that construction is in conformance with State and Local Codes. Any improvements to privately owned utilities, such as gas, electric, and telecom, are coordinated through the Engineering Division in order to ensure that private construction does not disrupt or obstruct publicly owned infrastructure.

Street Rehabilitation Program

Each year the Engineering Division performs a visual inspection of all roadway surfaces in the Village of Harwood Heights in order to identify which streets are most in need of repair. The streets which receive the lowest ratings are further evaluated to determine what remedial work is necessary. Annual improvements to roadway surfaces may include:

  • Full Reconstruction
  • Grind and Overlay
  • Heat Scarification
  • Curb and Gutter replacement
  • Crack-filling

The annual Street Rehabilitation Program is paid for by Motor Fuel Tax Funds, which are distributed by the State of Illinois based upon municipal population. For additional information on the Motor Fuel Tax, see www.dot.state.il.us/blr/mftbooklet.pdf

Alley Rehabilitation Program

Each year the Engineering Division performs a visual inspection of all alleys in the Village of Harwood Heights in order to identify which alleys are most in need of repair. The alleys which receive the lowest ratings are further evaluated to determine what remedial work is necessary. Annual improvements to roadway surfaces may include:

  • Full Reconstruction
  • Drainage and Sewer Improvements
  • Crack-filling

The annual Alley Rehabilitation Program is paid for by Motor Fuel Tax Funds, which are distributed by the State of Illinois based upon municipal population. For additional information on the Motor Fuel Tax, see www.dot.state.il.us/blr/mftbooklet.pdf

Water Distribution System

The Engineering Division works very closely with the Public Works Department in order to provide adequate water service at all times. Harwood Heights purchases (from Chicago) and distributes nearly one million gallons of water each day! Engineering and Public Works personnel carefully monitor water usage, levels of water in the tower, water pressure, and many other distribution system characteristics. All watermain breaks are recorded, and segments which have numerous breaks are identified for repair in the annual Watermain Improvement Program. Some interesting statistics about the water distribution system:

  • Daily usage is nearly 1 million gallons per day
  • The Harwood Heights water tower can hold up to 150,000 gallons of water
  • The Harwood Heights water storage reservoir can hold up to 2 million gallons of water
  • Harwood Heights receives water from Chicago at 44 psi
  • Harwood Heights distributes water to residents at 50 – 60 psi
Sewerage System

The Engineering Division works very closely with the Public Works Department in order to provide adequate sewer service at all times. Harwood Heights maintaines an extensive sewage conveyance system which consists of three components:

Sanitary Sewers

Sanitary sewers consist primarily of clay sewer pipe which is most often located in the center of the streets or alleys, and ranges in size from 6” to 54” in diameter. Sanitary sewers collect only wastewater from drains in resident’s homes and businesses. Wastewater from Harwood Heights eventually flows into the Chicago Sanitary District or the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and is ultimately treated at the MWRD Sewage Treatment Plant in Stickney, IL (see www.mwrd.org for more information on the wastewater treatment plant). Eventually, all water used in Harwood Heights flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

Storm Sewers

Storm sewers consist primarily of clay or concrete sewer pipe which is most often located under the roadway surface of streets or alleys, and ranges in size from 12” to 60” in diameter. Storm sewer grates can often be observed along the curb-lines of streets and are designed only to collect rainwater. Since storm sewers are intended to collect only rainwater, the system flows directly to the DesPlaines River and is not treated – therefore it is important to never dump anything in a storm sewer grate. Eventually, all storm water from Harwood Heights flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

Combination Sewers

Combination sewers consist primarily of clay sewer pipe which is most often located in the center of the streets or alleys, and ranges in size from 6” to 54” in diameter. Combination sewers collect both wastewater and storm water. The combination sewage from Harwood Heights eventually flows into the Chicago Sanitary District or the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and is ultimately treated at the MWRD Sewage Treatment Plant in Stickney, IL (see www.mwrd.org for more information on the wastewater treatment plant). Eventually, all water used in Harwood Heights flows down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

GIS and Mapping

The Engineering Division maintains and updates a Geographical Information System for the Village of Harwood Heights. A Geographical Information System, or “GIS” allows for statistical data to be connected to geography. Through the use of this system Village Officials can identify the many characteristics about the infrastructure, such as manhole location, pipe size, age, condition, connection points, number of repairs, service area, and many more. This system allows officials to make well-informed decisions in regards to annual projects, and to create an asset management program in order to ensure that the infrastructure is always in a state of improvement.

The Engineering Division can also utilize the GIS to create maps for use by Village Officials, Public Works Personnel, and Village Commissions. All maps (such as the Zoning map) can be updated regularly in order to accurately document changing conditions in the Village.