Governor issues northeast Iowa disaster proclamation due to flooding
DNR reports significant flooding at wastewater treatment plants
CEDAR RAPIDS — A disaster proclamation has been issued for five northeast Iowa counties in response to severe storms and flash flooding, Gov. Terry Branstad announced Thursday afternoon.
It covers Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties.
Branstad’s office also announced Thursday that Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Iowa HSEMD) Director Mark Schouten will be in Winneshiek County Friday to survey the damage. Stops are currently scheduled for Decorah/Freeport, Spillville and Ft. Atkinson.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that six northeast Iowa wastewater treatments plants, including Decorah’s, are completely or partially covered with floodwater. Two more cities — Waucoma and Elgin in Fayette County — expect treatment plants to flood.
Interstate Light and Power at Lansing in Allamakee County reported flooding, the DNR reported.
Four DNR specialists visited those facilities Thursday to assess damages and offer assistance in bringing them back to normal operation.
“Many other cities are likely discharging untreated or partially treated wastewater,” said Clark Ott of the DNR’s Manchester field office. “Aside from the obvious high water dangers, people should avoid contact with floodwaters because of potential contamination from wastewater, chemicals, petroleum products and other materials washed into the waters. “While the high volume of water generally dilutes these substances, there’s some risk of contamination so people should wash thoroughly if they’ve been exposed.”
The governor’s disaster proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of severe storms Aug. 23. It activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Program that provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the current federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $40,320 for a family of three.
Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. Original receipts are required for reimbursement. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website, http://dhs.iowa.gov/disaster-assistance-programs. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.
Eligible residents in those counties have until Oct. 7 to apply for Iowa Individual Assistance as a result of these storms.
DNR cautions anyone who suspects their private drinking water well has flooded to use an alternative water source for drinking, cooking and washing. Electrical shock and damage to the system are also possible, so people should contact a certified well contractor. Find more information at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Well-Program.