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Request For Disaster Declaration

August 31, 2010, 4:59 PM by Cherlene Richards

Request For Disaster Declaration
SIOUX FALLS, SD - We now know how costly a late July storm was to the city of Sioux Falls. When Mother Nature dumped several inches of water four weeks ago, the city's sanitary sewer system was overloaded, sewage backed up into basements, and the Big Sioux was out of its banks.

Minnehaha County Officials say it'll cost more than $1.2 million to fix what was damaged. Almost all of that expense is for the collapsed sewer pipeline by the state penitentiary. It's a price they hope the federal government will help pay, by asking for a disaster declaration in the county.

A handful of homeowners woke up to find water and sewage coming up through their drains on the morning of July 30. Officials say the overnight downpour caused damage to homes, streets, area parks and bike trails. But, the added water taxed the sanitary sewer system, forcing sewage into the Big Sioux River and causing a pipeline failure that sent sewer water back into homes and apartments.

“Basically, the rain came down all summer long, it saturated the ground, it increased the flows within the sanitary sewer system, and as a result, it couldn't handle it, it's not made to have those types of flows for, that long of time,” Lynn DeYoung said.

Minnehaha County Emergency Manager Lynn DeYoung met with county commissioners today to ask them to declare the county a disaster.  They did, and now that request goes to the governor, and if approved by Governor Mike Rounds, it'll go to the President.  DeYoung is confident the request will be granted.

“FEMA comes in and pays 75 percent of the damages, to qualifying infrastructure, the state and the locals have to come up with the other 25 percent,” DeYoung said.

Although most of the damage was in Sioux falls, rural roads in Minnehaha county were also underwater, this culvert, northwest of the city, still needs to be replaced, more than a month after the flooding event.

And it'll cost about $25,000 to replace it and is one of many things that still need repair.

“Your township road, or your sewer system, it pays for repairs to bring it back up, to that condition so they can drive on it, use it, just like they did before the disaster occurred,” DeYoung said.

Lincoln County officials also sent their disaster declaration request to the governor.  They have more than $350,000 worth of structural damage.  Both counties have been informed that FEMA representatives will start their preliminary evaluations as soon as next week.

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