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County offers assistance in aftermath of flooding

Flooding conditions along Fox River south end Fox Lake as seen from air. | Aerial photography by Lee Hogan

Flooding conditions along the Fox River on the south end of Fox Lake as seen from the air. | Aerial photography by Lee Hogan

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Participating septic waste haulers

The list of haulers includes A&J Sewer in Wheeling, Sunrise Septic in Antioch, Weidner’s Septic in Lake Zurich or Weisway Inc. in Union Grove, Wis. Residents seeking more information are asked to call Lake County Public Works at (847) 377-7500.

Flood aid assistance

The assistance covers relief for uninsured losses due to flooding, and the application process can be accessed at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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Updated: July 16, 2013 1:15AM



At the height of the Flood of 2013, the overflowing Chain O’ Lakes had claimed more than 5,500 acres of previously dry land, an amount that roughly equals the square miles in the village of Fox Lake.

That was one of the facts reported this week as Lake County officials not only reviewed the scope of the emergency but approved local programs aimed at assisting residents in repairing flood damage and cleaning out overwhelmed septic systems.

The County Board approved a measure Tuesday, May 14, that waives permit fees for property owners in unincorporated areas who need to perform repairs or restoration due to flood damage. These owners still need to schedule an inspection through the county’s County Planning, Building & Development department to secure a permit.

The board also approved reduced rates for septic-waste disposal through the county’s Mill Creek Water Reclamation Facility. Property owners in flood-affected areas must have the service performed before June 1 and must utilize haulers participating in the program.

The county’s action comes after President Barack Obama declared Lake and 10 other Illinois counties disaster areas on May 10. The initial declaration provides for “necessary assistance to individuals,” which includes both residents and businesses.

Lake County Emergency Management coordinator Kent McKenzie said it remains to be seen if municipalities and other public agencies will also be eligible for federal disaster-relief funds in the wake of the April torrent, which he described as “different from other recent floods” because impacts went beyond the usual suspects like the Des Plaines and Fox rivers.

“In this flood, there were also impacts in many other areas — major damage to parks in Hawthorn Woods, a culvert washout in Round Lake Beach, basement flooding in North Chicago, overflow discharge flooding in Grayslake,” McKenzie told the board. “No part of the county was completely spared, but some areas were harder hit than others.”

McKenzie added that a combination of late snowmelt in April, heavy rains in southern Wisconsin between April 6 and 11, and Lake County’s own deluge between April 16 and 19 were responsible for the unusual result. At the height of the flood, he noted, the Chain’s scope was increased by nearly 65 percent.

With the county’s Health Department still testing and recommending treatment options for wells overwhelmed by floodwaters and the damage assessments ongoing, board members praised McKenzie and his staff members for their work during and after the disaster. Bonnie Thomson Carter of Ingleside said county employees “gave up time with their family and their children to take care of all these flood victims.”

“This is one of the most impressive groups of people that we’ve had to work with in a time of need,” Carter said. “I’m just so proud of the expertise and the willingness and the energy that all of you put in to help our flood victims.”

Board member Audrey Nixon of North Chicago said residents in her community and across the county should be aware of the assistance available both through the county and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We didn’t get the flooding like some of the county, but even at that, we had basements that were flooded. Water has no boundary,” Nixon said.

“People can get help with the (damage) and some of the furniture that they lost. That’s mostly in my area with the flooded basements.”

Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said he feels the county’s overall response to the flood “was truly a model of how to respond to emergencies like these.”

He also mentioned a visit to one resident’s home in Fox River Springs that illustrated the character of county residents in a flood crisis.

“We were out in one guy’s garage,” said Lawlor, “and he had all the maps about flood inundation and kits and all these supplies, and then there was this sign that said, ‘This ain’t our first rodeo.’”



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