Local news: Verona tries to recover from a flood (22/05/21)


The Missouri Department of Transportation closed this bridge that connects the P and Business 60 freeway to Verona due to flood damage. Repairs are expected to begin next week. Mike Gervais/[email protected]

Water comes out of sewers, houses, bridges

As the floodwaters recede from Monday night’s storm, Verona takes stock and tries to clean up the damage and make repairs.

Mayor Joseph Heck estimates the damage will total millions, with the city’s sewerage station completely flooded and non-operational, several homes destroyed or damaged by flood waters and streets damaged throughout the city.

The Verona sewage treatment plant remained out of service on Friday due to flood damage. City officials asked an engineer to assess the damage on Friday in a bid to get the plant back up and running. Photo added

City leaders held a special meeting Thursday to encourage all residents of Lawrence County who have suffered damage to their home or property to report the damage.

A natural disaster must result in at least $ 9.1 million in damage to be considered for FEMA relief funds.

Verona City Clerk Laura Hazelwood encourages community members and business owners to contact her to report any damage so city leaders can get an accurate account of the cost of repairs.

At first glance, Heck said he estimated it would cost around $ 200,000 to repair the streets and possibly over $ 500,000 to put the city’s sewage plant back into service.

City crews were still trying to pump water out of the sewer plant to assess the damage on Thursday and were hoping a civil engineer would inspect the facility on Friday to get an estimate of the cost of the repairs.

It’s just totally flooded, ?? Heck said of the sewer plant. All the electrical equipment, everything is underwater, and we’re trying to get it pumped so that we can start to assess the damage.

In the meantime, the city’s waste is pouring into the creek. Heck told residents of Verona on Thursday that the Natural Resources Ministry had been informed and was prioritizing sewer repairs and cleanup efforts.

Heck also said he was frustrated with the response, or lack of response, from Lawrence County officials.

“I have put in 20 hours of free work in the last two days, because that’s the oath I took, to serve my city, ?? he said on Wednesday. ?? Lawrence County emergency services did not contact. County commissioners said they couldn’t help. We had four water rescues in town, with four to six agencies coming to help us. Outside of town we had two or three more rescues. We had people on their rooftops within the city limits because it was the height of the water. You think they [Lawrence County officials] would like to know what’s going on here. It’s crazy that no one has contacted us. ??

Adding insult to injury, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) met with Heck on Tuesday, following the flooding, to inform him that they would not be repairing a flood damaged bridge at Business 60 and to the P motorway which had been under their responsibility for decades. .

Hazelwood said Thursday that the MoDOT had reviewed its maps and contacted the city later in the week to confirm that a mistake had been made and that the bridge remained under the jurisdiction of the MoDOT, so the city would not be obligated to make these repairs.

The bridge is out of service at the moment, with repairs scheduled to begin next week.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Grant Selvey said the county Emergency Management Service was able to source two pumps from Jefferson City to help Verona pump water from its sewer plant. However, Verona Rural Fire Chief Aaron Siegrist said those pumps never arrived.

He said he was contacted by someone who was offering to allow the city to rent a pump for the sewage plant, but was unable to allocate municipal funds to rent the pumps.

From my observation, Verona experienced the most in-depth flooding, followed by Aurora and Marionville, ?? Selvey said. The floodwaters came in quickly and receded quickly.

Selvey also said the Red Cross had been sent to the area to help flood victims. He said the Red Cross is available to help anyone who had 18 inches of water or more during the flooding.

“I contacted Verona to see if there was anything I could do, and at this point they said they didn’t need any help, ?? Selvey said.

Heck said he didn’t know who would have said the city didn’t need help because it doesn’t.

The county emergency management office is also working to assess the county-wide damage to see how much the repairs will cost. Selvey said the damage had to be at least $ 9.1 million for the county to declare an emergency and receive funding.

?? The flood is not eligible for a disaster declaration at this point, ?? he said. And that’s a good thing, because it means we haven’t had as much damage.

While Selvey is hoping the damage will not justify a declaration of disaster, officials in Verona are hoping for financial help.

Heck said on Thursday that between damage to Verona, Aurora and Marionville, Lawrence County could well exceed the $ 9.1 million threshold.

He expects the city of Verona to have suffered more than $ 1 million in damage and local businesses to have been badly affected as well.

BCP Ingredients remains closed due to flood damage, said Brent Tignor, director of human resources.

?? We suffered considerable damage at the plant due to the flow of water which damaged the equipment as well as the product inventory, ?? he said.

No one at BCP was injured in the flooding, but as of Friday Tignor said he did not expect the plant to reopen for several days.

?? We are still a few days away from getting back on track, ?? he said. We are still assessing exactly what the damage is, but our preliminary estimate is that it will be in the millions of dollars. Time will tell exactly what it will be. ??

In the meantime, Tignor said the BCP has been working closely with Verona city officials and has offered whatever help it can provide, be it food for displaced residents or some other form. assistance.

?? We appreciate the support and help from the local community, and we are working with the mayor to identify how we could help, ?? he said. “We know we weren’t the only ones affected.

Heck said he and the community appreciate the help and support that have been received since Monday’s flooding.

“We’re all in the same boat and we’re all trying to help each other out, ?? Heck said. ?? I want to thank the Lawrence County Sheriff‘s Department and the Purdy Fire Department, the Conservation Department and Aurora Rural Fire for their response on Monday, and I want to thank the citizens of Verona for being patient with us while we’re trying to get a handle on this. ??


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