It looks like the federal government will be forking over $12.8 million in disaster relief to three far northern Wisconsin counties hit by flooding last June.
With 98% of the damage to roads and infrastructure tallied, Douglas County will get by far the most with $11.6 million, Bayfield County $800,000 including for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Ashland County will get $275,000.
Hannah Vick is one of FEMA’s people who arrived in Superior after the Presidential flood disaster declaration in August. She says communities got their ducks in a row, “And that really started this process of communities that could step forward and say ‘Hey, one of our bridges was damaged or our roads were damaged and we’re looking for financial reimbursement on that. So we identified 49 different applicants. We’ve been working with those applicants hand in hand, face to face.”
Superior is one of the 49 communities to get federal help. They will get $1.6 million, not including the large amount of damage to cover UW-Superior. Assistant Director of Public Works Todd Janigo says the damage was extensive and they’ve only completed 20% of repairs. But he says the city’s sewer system held up, “The interesting thing about sewers is that you’ve got a manhole and when the pressure’s too great in the sewer it just shoots up and starts coming out of the top. Water will find the easiest path. It’s in the basement, in the ditches, in the streams.”
Janigo says the June 20 flood seems like a long time ago, “I know I never want to go through this again. All the FEMA folks have made the statement that ‘Well, you’ve learned a lot and you know more for next time. I sure hope there isn’t a next time.”
The local governments and state have to match 12.5% each to FEMA’s reimbursement.