It could take months for Lyon Co. to recover from flooding, officials say

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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Lyon Co. officials say flooding damage is adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it could takes months to recover.

Flooding in the county started just over two weeks ago.

"Until the water gets down, anything we do here is just kind of a waste of effort,” Chip Woods with the Lyon Co. Highway Department, said.

As the floodwaters begin to subside, preliminary damage assessments are underway.

"It's going to be an expensive process,” Woods said. “And a slow process."

The Lyon Co. Highway Department estimates $250,000 in damages to the 50 roads that have been closed since flooding began April 29.

The heavy rains also took a toll on the city's wastewater treatment facility and sanitary sewer collection system.

"Typically we can gravity out to the river, but with the river getting up so high, we have to use pumps to pump the water away, and one of them failed,” Scott Gomfory, wastewater treatment plant manager for the City of Emporia, said.

The pump has $500,000 worth of damage. An outside company will come in next week to repair it.

In the meantime, both Woods and Gomfory urge you to stay patient.

"Our goal is to try to get [the roads] opened so that they're safe to travel as soon as possible, but we got things like this,” Woods said. “It's going to take some time."

"Mother nature is part of the culprit here, so you just got to deal with what she throws you,” Gomfory said.

Gov. Laura Kelly added Lyon Co. to an emergency disaster declaration Monday. Currently, 21 counties throughout Kansas have signed local disaster declarations.

Once damage assessments wrap up, officials will determine if the state is eligible to apply for FEMA reimbursement for damages.

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