Flood Information

Roughly 20 percent of our county is covered by surface water consisting of streams, lakes, wetlands and floodplains. Over the years, following heavy rain events, parts of our county have experienced significant riverline flooding damaging homes and businesses in the floodplain along streams and rivers. We’ve also seen instances of flash flooding, which can happen anywhere. 

Major Flooding EventsHomes, roads, and trees, all surrounded by 5 feet of murky brown water

Major flooding is possible in Lake County, as seen in July 2017. Lake County was inundated by heavy rains which led to flash flooding in several Lake County communities, and flooding to our major river systems, including the Des Plaines River, Skokie River and Fox River/Chain O’Lakes. Lake County was proclaimed a disaster area by the Lake County Board Chairman, and the governor sent a request to the President of the United States asking that he approve federal assistance to help people in northern Illinois, including Lake County, recover from record flooding.

This request was ultimately denied by FEMA, but it’s important to understand how the disaster proclamation process works.

Flood Preparation

Knowing the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning, finding out how to get emergency alerts, reviewing flood insurance policies, and protecting your property are all ways to prepare for flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides flood safety tips that residents should know before, during, and after a flood. 


Unincorporated Residents

The Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department provides elevation certificates in unincorporated Lake County upon request. If you are seeking an elevation ticket in a municipality, contact your village. 


If your home or personal property was damaged by flooding, contact your insurance company to determine coverage and start the claim process.

Residents should complete emergency clean-up activities that may include removing water damaged property (carpeting, cabinets, etc.). Once the flood water recedes, contact your local community development or the Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department (for unincorporated residents) to inquire about a permit to do additional repairs, such as replacing drywall.

Rollins Road 2017Waste and Debris

For waste and debris collection information, contact your village. If you live in unincorporated Lake County, contact your hauler/waste management services provider.

Septic Systems

During heavy rains and floods, the ground is often saturated, preventing proper operation of septic systems. Wastewater from malfunctioning septic tanks seeping into the ground can contaminate surface water and groundwater. Know the signs that a septic system is not working properly, and precautions you can take.

Water Wells

Flood waters may contaminate wells. Drinking and/or washing with water from a private well that has been flooded is not advised as the well water may be contaminated with bacteria and other contaminants.

Residents on private wells need to have their water tested after floodwaters have receded. The Health Department offers water testing kits to residents whose wells are affected by flooding. For additional information on well water testing, contact Environmental Health Services at 847-377-8020.


  • Red Cross hotline: 847-220-7495
  • Salvation Army donation hotline: 1-888-369-1349
  • Illinois Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has work teams available to provide free hands-on help with flood recovery.  Once a person fills out a request for assistance, their teams will assess your home and will remove contaminated materials and drywall and sanitize the structure. Call 1-217-622-5101 or email sbcdisasterrelief@yahoo.com for more information.