O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh denies resident’s request for erosion mitigation

Image of the the drainage waterway running along the back of Don and Ann Dzengolewski’s property. On the left is where the couple cleared all vegetation and trees and covered the ground in hay. The clearing leaves the opposing side of the channel reinforced, causing erosion to increase on the Dzengolewski’s side.
Image of the the drainage waterway running along the back of Don and Ann Dzengolewski’s property. On the left is where the couple cleared all vegetation and trees and covered the ground in hay. The clearing leaves the opposing side of the channel reinforced, causing erosion to increase on the Dzengolewski’s side.

Don and Ann Dzengolewski of Shiloh will have to seek other alternatives to solve its erosion problem.

The Village of Shiloh Board of Trustees recently denied Dzengolewski’s request for some rip rap that would have been placed behind their home at 4216 Cowdray Park Court.

The Dzengolewskis approached the village for erosion mitigation measures to address a stream running through the back of their Keswick Place subdivision property.

“I think the trustees are worried it sets a precedent for what the village is willing to do in the future on private property,” Brenda Kern, village clerk, said.

The Shiloh Committee at Large on April 25 approved Dzengolewski’s request and forwarded the project to Village Board for its final consideration on May 2.

This isn’t the first time the Dzengolewski’s have asked the village for help with the same issue. But in 2011, the village fulfilled Dzengolewski’s request

“The village fulfilled their request five years ago because at that time it was thought that it might have been caused in some way by the Cedarhurst development,” Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said.

Shiloh Village Engineer Norm Etling concurred it was previously fulfilled because it was thought to have been caused by the development of Cedarhurst Assisted Living and Memory Care, located at 429 S. Main Street.

What initially drew attention to the returning issue of erosion was the couple was clearing trees in their back yard, as invasive Honeysuckle Ivy had taken over and killed most of the area trees.

Specifically, the latest (second) request asking village staff to provide and load about a truckload of rip rap, also known as loose stone used to form a foundation for a breakwater or other structure, to address erosion on their private property, was emailed to Etling on April 20.

“Our back yard backs up to the side of Cedarhurst (Assisted Living and Memory Care facility off of South Main Street). About five years ago we addressed an issue with you and Mayor (Jim) Vernier. You were both very helpful with the problem,” the Dzengolewski’s said in an email sent to Etling.

The Dzengolewski’s did not return several calls from The Progress.

“I’m not sure when the clearing was done,” Etling said. “But, they’ve stripped

the entire adjoining side and left all the foliage on the opposite side of the waterway, which is only working against them.”

Restoring the natural balance is the answer to the Dzengolewski’s problem at this point, Etling said.

“Water always tries to take the path of least resistance, and when the root structures of trees and foliage are removed it weakens the bank causing erosion to increase,” Etling said. “They need to do what they did to the homeowner’s adjoining side but to the opposing side of the drainage way.”

Etling noted while he was at the property investigating, the owner mentioned he even moved rip rap from upstream towards his home.

“I guess he thought he was doing what he should do,” Etling said. “If people would call me before they start doing stuff like this, I could try my best to advise them, but we usually get the calls after wards when the damage is done.”

When two opposing trees close together upstream it throttles the channel, and increases the velocity of the flow, and the soil particles and silting capacity lowers, Etling said.

“In other words, the owner(s) need to plant more foliage to create more of an anchor for the soil on the home’s adjoining side of the channel, and weaken the opposing side because there’s trees and lots of foliage reinforcing the opposing side (which) is forcing the erosion on the side of their house,” Etling said.

Shiloh Trustee Bob Weilmuenster, who voted against assisting the Dzengolewski’s request , said he was concerned if the village helped in this instance, then they may become inundated with calls for requests to help other private property owners.

“A line has to be drawn somewhere,” Vernier said. “While I sympathize with the owners, it’s not my decision, and it’s out of my hands.”

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