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Waubay's Flood Battle Continues

April 30, 2012, 6:03 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Waubay's Flood Battle Continues
WAUBAY, SD -

Flooding may not be as big an issue this spring for many people in KELOLAND, but it's a different story in Day County.

Dry weather has improved flood conditions in Waubay but homeowners are still in a world of hurt. They sit at the end of a closed lake basin where water continues flowing in but not out.

Blue Dog Lake to the north and Bitter Lake to the south are down from their high points last year. But they're both still driving people away.

"There's water coming in all the time and I've never shut it off to see how high it would get and I don't want to do that," Joe Dolney said.

That's a sump pump running from his home along Blue Dog Lake Dolney is talking about. But that's an improvement in itself considering he had a handful of them running last year.

Because of the ongoing flooding, Dolney is joining dozens of other homeowners and selling out through a FEMA program.

"I don't want to go through that again. But there's other people that have it a lot worse than I do," Dolney said.

Some homes on the eastern side of the lake have sat empty for more than a year. And in the southern part of town, Bitter Lake backed off some after its high point last year. But it's crawling back up again.

Almost 50 homeowners in Day County have applied to sell out their property and start new. A few more have applied for funding to move their houses to higher ground.

Dolney has already been approved through the buyout program. He figures he'll leave the community all together, something he never wanted to do.

"We were planning on staying here. It's pretty nice around here and neighbors are nice, never have to lock your doors or anything," Dolney said.

Through the buyout program, the government pays 75 percent of the property's appraised value. Thirty homes in Day County have already been approved. The remaining applicants are still waiting.

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