PALO — Less than two days after the Cedar River crested at more than 18 feet in Palo, officials now are taking steps to get residents back into their homes.
Les Beck, director of Linn County planning and development, said the county on Wednesday sent two teams of inspectors to Palo to begin preliminary damage assessments of any buildings impacted by floodwater.
The hope is to clear homes for residents, he said.
“Our goal is to get people back into their homes as quickly as possible ... back to their lives again,” Beck said. “We don’t want to keep people out of their houses, we just want to make sure they’re safe.”
Beck said the assessments are all external, with inspectors checking to see if water got to electrical systems, furnaces, or water heaters.
Beck said initial estimates were that about 80 homes were impacted by flooding, but said Wednesday that number may be closer to 40.
“We’re not expecting to find any structural damage, at least not in Palo. We don’t think the water was moving that fast,” Beck said.
Collected data will be used to determine an overall damage assessment for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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Beck said homes marked with green placards are ready for re-entry. Residents can still return to their homes if they have a yellow placard, but will need to contact the county to determine what work or building permits is needed, he said.
Meanwhile, Palo city staff are still dealing with a sewer main break that occurred over the weekend.
Mayor Thomas Yock said the break was still being worked on Tuesday, but it appeared that it could be flood-related. While water coming out of the tap is safe, Yock said residents are asked to not put water down the drains, which would put added strain on the wastewater system.