Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Montgomery County tallies homes affected by flooding

July 17, 2007

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— The floodwaters that hit southeast Kansas this month affected 6,307 homes and 123 businesses in Montgomery County, according to the county's preliminary assessments.

John Sidwell, a spokesman for the team managing the disaster relief effort, said homes that were affected may just have had water in their septic tanks or could have suffered major damage. Officials were still conducting a house-by-house survey, Sidwell said Monday, but preliminary estimates were that about 640 homes were damaged.

Many residents had to flee the area as the rain-swollen Verdigris River topped its banks and oil spilled from the Coffeyville Resources refinery, mixing with raw sewage and other waste on July 1. One man drowned in a Coffeyville motel room hit by flooding.

Roads also were severely affected, with 150 miles of paved roads and 400 miles of gravel roads damaged. Three county bridges, three wastewater treatment plants and two water treatment plants also reported damage, according to the county report.

Officials used 56 trucks of water, 31 trucks of ice and two 6,000-gallon tankers of water to help residents.

Four emergency shelters and four immunization clinics were set up, and county health nurses also traveled to rural areas to assist other residents.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday awarded the state a $10 million grant to temporarily employ workers dislocated as a result of recent floods and to assist with cleanup efforts.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced the grant awarded to the Kansas Department of Commerce for 15 counties. They are Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Butler, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Elk, Franklin, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson.

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