Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Tax records going back to the 19th century were among the historical documents salvaged from the flooded basement office of Baileys Harbor Town Hall after the deluge of Sept. 4.

Town Clerk/Administrator Doug Smith said he and a crew worked for more than six hours on Sept. 5 to salvage town documents from the flooded basement. Everything was brought upstairs to the auditorium to dry out, and Smith conducted business all week from the auditorium, with his computer tuned to a weather radar map so he could monitor rain patterns. He was relieved that the rainfall on Sept. 9 and 10 was not as bad as had been forecast.

Below the auditorium, workers continued the cleanup of the town offices, where two to three inches of water was standing on the morning of the 5th.

Smith had expected to be back in his office at the end of this week, but the cleanup crew decided to remove the walls from about six inches up from the floor due to water damage.

In addition to work headaches, Smith had several feet of water in the basement of his home, across the street from the town hall, and will have to replace the furnace.

Baileys Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager Don Prust issued a statement on Sept. 8, warning residents that it is illegal to pump groundwater into a sewer system.

He said the high water that flooded basements and crawl spaces “in many cases went down drains into the sanitary sewer. Just a couple of drains doing this will cause the lift stations to be overwhelmed.”

Prust said the treatment plant crew worked from 7:30 pm on Sept. 4 through the afternoon of Sept. 6 to return all seven of the town’s lift stations to normal operating conditions.

“We did everything possible to alleviate the problems but could not,” he said. “The only thing we were able to do is wait for the flooding to recede and get the equipment up and running as quickly as possible.”

He also warned that with more rain in the forecast, there could be more system backups.

“Be prepared,” he said. “Try to keep all groundwater from entering the sewer system. This may be from floor drains, sump pumps illegally hooked into the sewer system and not outside or open cleanouts and broken pipes. Please check to see that you are doing your part to keep this from happening again.”

The town teamed up with the Baileys Harbor Community Association to offer a large dumpster for residents to bring items destroyed by flooding. The dumpster was placed at Baileys Harbor Rec Park on Sept. 10.

Dan Williams, director of Door County Emergency Services, has requested that businesses affected by the storm fill out a damage assessment form by Monday, Sept. 15.

“We need to be very clear in that there most likely will not be any relief,” Williams said. “There is a chance that we may hit a threshold when all of the estimates are added together to qualify for Small Business Administration low interest loans, so what we are trying to do is be the point of collection for that information.”