Cleanup effort set in EllendaleSeveral basements in Ellendale don’t smell so nice these days. The city of 1,300’s sewer system backed up June 22 after the area received 7 inches of rain in three days, including about 3 1/2 inches in “one shot,” said Charles Russell, Dickey County emergency manager. Many county residents have water problems due to high water tables and an unusually wet season.
Several basements in Ellendale don’t smell so nice these days.
The city of 1,300’s sewer system backed up June 22 after the area received 7 inches of rain in three days, including about 3 1/2 inches in “one shot,” said Charles Russell, Dickey County emergency manager. Many county residents have water problems due to high water tables and an unusually wet season.
At least five Dickey County families can’t even get to their homes due to water over roads, Russell said. And four families took up residence at Trinity Bible College residence halls after sewer water infiltrated their basement apartments.
So the county is holding a citywide cleanup day Tuesday and Wednesday to address the sewer-water hit homes of vulnerable populations like the elderly, those with disabilities or with special needs. Volunteers will help with cleanup while the city will offer a separate pit for the flood debris. All is considered contaminated due to the sewer backup, Russell said. Ellendale will not charge a fee for disposing materials. Residents can also place debris on the curb.
“The main focus of this (citywide cleanup) is the old lady that can’t do it on her own or the single mom with five kids,” Russell said.
This is the first time Ellendale has had to hold such an event since Mayor Don Flaherty moved there in 1997.
Most residents with sewer water trouble already cleaned the mess themselves, but for some residents, about a dozen households the county knows of so far, the water — and its smell — have lingered for more than a week.
“What an awful thing to have happen,” said Monica Peldo, president of the recently formed Lions Club group which volunteered to help with clean up.
The 27 Lions Club members, as well as other community residents, plan to gut basements, remove Sheetrock and disinfect Tuesday and Wednesday.
“People around here are just that kind of people,” Peldo said. “They give of their time if they have it.”
And while many of the volunteers will be local, some are from out of state. Duane and Chris Blum as well as their 15-year-old daughter, Amanda, of Mason City, Iowa, arrived Friday. The family has traveled to disaster-struck locations throughout the country ever since Iowa received some of its own flooding in 2008. Lutheran Disaster Response recruited the family to help in Ellendale.
Dickey County will pay travel expenses, but the family volunteers its time.
“Holidays are just another day for us,” Chris Blum said of working through Fourth of July weekend.
Dickey County is holding the cleanup day in part because the households affected aren’t eligible for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and also because other disaster-response organizations are tied up with other emergencies like flooding in Minot, N.D., Russell said.
Dickey County is still taking requests for homes in need of cleanup assistance. To register, call the Dickey County Extension Office, 701-349-3249, ext. 127, as soon as possible, Russell said.
The county also seeks volunteers. Volunteers can call city hall at 349-3252 or report to Church of the Nazarene, 112 Fifth St. North, Ellendale at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org