Road Bond Application
If you see leaves around your culverts or catch basins, take a minute to rake them away. The few minutes you take to do this may stop your yard from flooding. The highway department is happy to jet your driveway culverts if they become plugged with dirt or ice. However, replacement of driveway culverts is the homeowner’s responsibility. If you need more information on replacing your culvert, please call the highway department.
Leaf burning is a complicated issue that impacts more than your own yard. If you live in a village, contact them to learn about restrictions. Leaf burning is permitted in unincorporated Lake County.
Rules to remember if you must burn:
- Be safe at all times.
- Adults only.
- Be aware of your neighbors and the smoke you’re creating. Some individuals are very sensitive to the smoke.
- The leaves you’re burning should never exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high.
- Never leave a fire unattended. You must continue to supervise the ashes 30 to 45 minutes after extinguishing the fire.
- Always have a way to put the fire out quickly. Keep a water hose and shovel handy.
- Be alert to wind velocity. Don’t burn if there are high winds (15-20 miles/hour) or anticipated high winds such as a weather front approaching.
- Don’t burn anything in the ditch ways or on the road. The new storm pipes are PVC (plastic), which will melt. Burning in the ditch way also creates erosion after the grass is burned. The soil then washes downstream and fills other ditches, lakes and ponds.
Replacement of mailbox and/or post will only occur by Ela Highway Department if it is hit by the plow, not by flying snow. Your mailbox and post must be able to withstand flying snow. If you have an expensive mailbox, you may want to put up a temporary one for the winter because replacement mailboxes are standard issue with womanized 4 x 4 posts.
Any damage done to residential mailboxes/lawn due to snowplowing will be handled by the Ela Highway Department in the spring, weather permitting.
Mailbox Installation Guidelines
The following postal service guidelines apply to the installation of a rural style mailbox on a post in front of your home:
- The bottom of the mailbox should be 42 inches above the ground. The front of the mailbox should be 12 inches in from the back of the curb or edge of the road or shoulder.
- Post should be 4×4 inch wood post or a 2-inch, thick wall, steel pipe.
- Mailboxes closer than 8 inches or protruding in the street are NOT ACCEPTABLE.
If installed properly, and the mailbox is damaged by township equipment when snow plowing, we will replace it with a “standard” mailbox, 4×4 wood post and support. If it does not conform to the above guidelines, the township will not be held responsible.
- The paving process will include milling of the streets and any necessary patching, then the streets will be oiled.
- To protect your driveway from oil, either flag it off or park in your grass area for a day or so.
- Please drive slowly to avoid excessive oil on your car.
- The binder surface will be put down and paving will proceed after that.
- Approximately three weeks after paving, we will begin shouldering with recycled blacktop (no dirt and grass).
Post Storm Brush Removal
In unincorporated areas, after a storm has resulted in wind damage to trees and branches, the highway department will pick up branches or tree limbs (not to exceed 6 inches in diameter) that are next to the roadway. The cut ends of the branches should be facing the roadway, not criss-cross fashion.
Ela Township cannot go on private property, so all limbs must be accessible on the roads right of way. Debris will be picked up within the week of the storm for two days. The debris should be put out as soon as possible to be included in the pickup efforts. After the highway department has finished the mass debris pickup, it will be the responsibility of an individual resident to dispose of their own limbs/trees.
There will be no pickup of whole trees cut by tree services or landscapers left by the roadway.
The oil and paint recycling program has been suspended because the State of Illinois has stopped funding the program. Ela Highway Department is looking into other programs and additional funding but has not been able to contract any to date.
You may contact SWALCO (Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) with any questions regarding recycling.
The Illinois Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act landfill ban went into effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The following electronic items are no longer be accepted in either your regular trash or recycling container: TVs, monitors, printers, computers (including tablet computers), keyboards, mice, scanners, fax machines, VCRs, DVD players and recorders, portable digital music players, video game systems, small servers, satellite receivers, cable receivers and digital converter boxes.
Residents should direct their broken or unwanted household electronic items to a residential electronics recycling collection event hosted by SWALCO. For more information regarding residential electronics recycling opportunities and a list of items you can drop-off to be recycled, visit the SWALCO website at www.swalco.org or call (847) 336-9340. Please consider donating good working equipment to a charitable organization.
The highway department has built three recycle centers that are in the township at Knigge Park soccer field, Knox Park football field, and at the Ela Historical building. These recycle centers are used for old shoes, U.S. flags, eyeglasses, hearing aids and old cell phones. The highway department will collect them and distribute them to the appropriate end user.
Very little maintenance is required for a properly designed and operating septic tank. However, the consequences of a malfunctioning system are very costly and unpleasant. Faulty septic systems not only cost thousands of dollars to repair, but also contaminate groundwater and pollute nearby waterways. Remember, all substances disposed of via any drain in the home will end up in the septic tank.
What Can You Do?
To maximize the life of your septic system and keep it functioning properly, remember the following tips:
- Conserve water. Repair leaky faucets. Install low-flow toilets and showerheads and consider using front-loading washing machines. Only run full loads in the dish-washer and washing machine.
- Inspect and pump out your septic at least every two to three years. Use only reputable, licensed contractors. A licensed septic waste-hauler can determine your tank capacity and advise you on a recommended pumping frequency.
- Garbage disposals increase the frequency of septic pumping by about 20 percent. Consider composting food scraps instead.
- Flush responsibly – only human waste, wastewater and toilet paper.
- Don’t dispose of hazardous household waste in sinks or toilets.
- Plant only grass over and near your septic system. Roots from trees or shrubs may clog and damage the system.
- Keep gutters and sump pumps from draining into or near your septic system to avoid flooding.
- Never drive or park anything heavier than a lawn tractor over your septic field.
Snow removal is a vital service. Please do not interfere with snow plows by parking on the streets, following too closely, passing unsafely or blocking intersections. Do not follow closely as we make frequent stops and turns. If you can’t see our mirror, we can’t see you! If a plow stops, please use caution when passing, as we may be turning in any direction or backing up. We all want a safe trip to our destination.
Since Ela Highway Commissioner Bill Kruckenberg was elected, he has been able to reduce the amount of salt that has been spread on the roads without compromising the safety of the residents. This has made a positive impact on environment, the cars on the streets, as well as saving the township tax dollars.
This has been accomplished by installing computers in the plow trucks to monitor salt spreading and using anti-icing agents commonly known as “super mix,” a relatively new mixture of 70 percent salt brine, 20 percent beet juice and 10 percent chloride.
This mix is used in a wide range of temperatures and activates the salt much quicker. It also is used to wet the calcium chloride before snow plows drop it on the ground and it maximizes the use of the mixture. Thirty percent more material is left on the street and not in the ditches because the mixture is heavier and doesn’t bounce off. This is also a cost savings as salt has become more expensive in the last few years.
For those of you who walk your dogs in the road, this mix is pet friendly and will not damage the the pads of their paws.
Roads and subdivisions maintained by Ela Township:
Echo Lake Road; N.Lakewood Road; John Court, Gabriel Drive; Sacamano Court; Miller Road; Del Court; Indian Trail Road; Ivy Lane; Dartmouth Lane; Columbia Court; Woodbury Court; August Lane; Anna Court; Old McHenry Court; Hazelcrest Road; Rand Court; Plum Grove Road and Shirley Road, along with the subdivisions of Echo Lake, Forest Lake, Long Meadows Farm, Indian Meadows, Hillside Estates, Abbey Glenn, Lochanora and Valentine Manor. Ela Township also plows township buildings and parking lots, Lake Zurich Fire Station 4 and the Village of Deer Park.
Gilmer, Old McHenry and Fairfield roads are plowed by Lake County, while Midlothian Road, Route 12 (Rand Road) and Route 22 are the responsibility of the state.
Commonly asked question about snow plowing:
When are streets plowed?
Plowing generally begins when snow is more than one-inch deep and freezing temperatures indicate that the snow will not melt.
Why does the highway department use road salt?
Salting prevents melting snow from turning to ice. If ice forms, it bonds to the pavement and is very difficult to remove. The highway department uses salt wisely, salting only when an icing condition occurs, the snow depth is one inch or less, and after the snow subsides so the salt has time to work.
Why is snow piled on my corner?
Snow that accumulates across side roads and street corners needs to be pushed onto the corner to allow cars to turn. The snow is pushed back onto the corner in the direction the truck is traveling so some corners may get more snow than others. Snow piled at a street corner is of particular concern where there are school bus stops. If the snow accumulates at a bus stop, children may have to move up the street to board the bus. Please instruct children not to climb on the piles that have accumulated at the corners. If a snow pile on a particular corner becomes a sight distance problem, please call the highway department.
Why isn’t my street plowed more quickly?
Our large snow plows typically concentrate first on major streets within a particular subdivision. Once these are plowed, the trucks move to the secondary streets. Routes are laid out logically and efficiently to save fuel and salt. In general it takes each truck four to five hours to clear its route. However, if there is a heavy, sustained storm, the truck may have to make many passes to keep roads passable. The specific time your street is plowed can also be affected by an occasional truck breakdown or the number of cul-de-sac streets in your area as they are very time consuming to clear, taking between 20 and 30 minutes each.
Why is snow left at the end of my driveway?
There is no practical way for the snow plow operator to cut off the wind row of snow when crossing a driveway. This problem is especially acute on cul-de-sacs, which are very confined spaces that require the snow to be placed along the outside of the circle. The problem is compounded by the fact that homeowners must clear their driveways, which places large piles of snow on the corners of the drives. However, our goal is to maintain as much of the normal pavement width as possible and to allow access to mailboxes by postal carriers. To reduce the amount of snow that is plowed in front of your driveway, blow or shovel the snow to the right side of your drive as you face the street. This reduces the chance of snow previously removed from being pushed back onto your drive. This suggestion, however, may not work in cul-de-sacs that have driveway openings placed close together.
What else can I do to help?
- Please do not shovel or blow snow back into the street after it has been plowed and salted. Snow that is deposited on the street can refreeze and cause hazardous conditions for you or your neighbors.
- When it starts to snow, park your vehicle off the street. This protects it from being splashed with slush and salt, and prevents it from being plowed in.
- Check that your mailbox and post are in good repair and that they are behind the curb, not leaning out over the street.
- If there is a fire hydrant in front of your home, clear the snow around it. It is there for your protection and that of your neighbors.
As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.
By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember to share the habits with your neighbors!
Healthy Household Habits for Clean Water
Vehicle and Garage
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local water body.
- Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.
- Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations. Don’t dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.
Lawn and Garden
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local stream.
- Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest-resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer and pesticides.
- Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
- Don’t over water your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don’t let water runoff into the storm drain.
- Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into local water bodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
Home Repair and Improvement
- Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
- Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
- Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
- Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints. Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection programs (SWALCO) or donate unused paint to local organizations.
- Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for watering during dry periods. Consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns and other measures to increase infiltration and reduce polluted runoff.
- When walking your pet, remember to pick up and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.
Swimming Pool and Spa
- Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.
- Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.
- Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to stormwater.
Septic System Use and Maintenance
- Have your septic system inspected by a professional at least every three years, and have the septic tank pumped as necessary (usually every three to five years).
- Care for the septic system drain field by not driving or parking vehicles on it. Plant only grass over and near the drain field to avoid damage from roots.
- Flush responsibly. Flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil and antifreeze can destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system. Other items, such as diapers, paper towels and cat litter can clog the septic system and potentially damage components.
Storm drains connect to water bodies!
There is no overnight parking or daily parking on unincorporated streets. Parking in the subdivisions of unincorporated areas is not allowed unless you are having a gathering and notify the sheriff’s office. You must park on one side of the street only to ensure that any emergency vehicle can access your subdivision. Not following these rules will lead to towing of vehicles at owner’s expense. Please be mindful of your neighbors and their yards as no one wants their lawn torn up.