Mopping up the mess
From Main Street to farmers' fields wet weather takes toll across area
|Passenger vehicles resemble diving submarines as they drive under viaduct on M-53 in Imlay City last Wednesday. Heavy rain flooded the area, closing roads and swamping basements and farm fields. photo by Randy Jorgensen.|
June 24, 2009TRI-CITY AREA — Time and receding flood waters are telling the damage heavy rains caused in the area last Wednesday (June 17) for everyone from homeowners and farmers to businesses and municipalities.
According to the National Weather Service and personal accounts, precipitation totals ranged from four inches in Attica to seven inches in Imlay City.
On Monday, the Lapeer County Road Commission was still fixing washouts, farmers were assessing their fields and others were mopping up the excess water.
In Capac, the historical society appears to have suffered the most damage. A sanitary sewer backup in the Kempf Historical Centre flooded the building, ruining the carpet.
"It could have been a lot worse...I think we saved the walls," Society President John Grzyb said on Thursday while looking at the nearly empty building, save for a few fans.
With the help of Mussey Twp. firefighters and several neighbors, society members were able to move many of their valuable items out of the water's way.
Unfortunately, it appeared that the society's insurance policy wouldn't cover the cost for new flooring. He hopes the Kempf Centre can be up and running again in time for their July 17-19 second annual quilt show. Anyone who'd like to help the museum with purchasing their new flooring, can contact them at 395-2859.
Mussey Fire Chief Don Standel said that in addition to lending a hand at the museum, he and his department kept busy with various calls on Wednesday including pumping water off of Main St. near the Main Street Villa and inspecting a Cade Road home with a flooded basement and damaged wall.
"We told the homeowners it wasn't livable until they had a building inspection," Standel said.
His department also assisted the Imlay City Fire Department with pumping water from the swollen Belle River at M-21 and Fairgrounds roads further downstream.
Elsewhere in Imlay City, the city's waste water treatment plant struggled to keep up with all the water, and lost some equipment to water damage, City Manager Amy Planck said.
In Almont, where the wastewater treatment plant has been subject to recent overflows, problems were few, said Village Manager Gerald Oakes.
"Our guys worked very hard to keep things from overflowing and they were able to handle the situation," said Oakes.
|Carrot fields on Pennell Road in Imlay Twp. still had standing water as of Monday morning.|
He added that while Wednesday's rainfall was steady, less fell in Almont than in some of the neighboring communities.
"We only had about three-and-a-half inches," said Oakes.
Throughout the day, motorists in the Tri-City area had to navigate flooded roads.
According to the Lapeer County Road Commission, they closed Bohlman Road in Dryden Township, between Sutton and Hollow Corners, and Newark Road between Atwell and Birch roads until crews could replace failed cross tubes.
Local growers will have to wait for their fields to dry out before they can really assess the damage.
Brian Kinzer of Helena, a seed and fertilizer company in Imlay City, said it appears the worst of the flooding was found along the Belle River and I-69 corridor—from south of Bowers Road to south of I-69.
"There are a lot of high dollar crops in those areas," Kinzer said.
It depends on the type of crop and a field's maturity, but most can stand being waterlogged for no more than 24 hours.
"But all in all, if they're underwater it's pretty devastating," he said.
Unfortunately it's also getting late in the season to replant.
Staff writer Tom Wearing contributed to this report.