The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 6, 2014

Waterville damages still being assessed

Water slowly receding; some homes still surrounded

Two weeks after heavy rains pushed water over the banks of a river, creek and two lakes, Waterville officials are still assessing how much damage was caused by the flooding.

The water has been slowly receding, but there were still many homes surrounded by water this past weekend. Many of those homes were in what residents describe as the lagoon area south of Tetonka Lake on the west side of the city.

"The low estimate for damage is $3 million and the high estimate is $12 million," Waterville Mayor Stephen Mihalik said Thursday. "We still have areas that have 27 inches of water yet."

A town meeting has been scheduled for Thursday. Mihalik said the meeting will focus on how residents can dispose of potentially hazardous waste created by flood damage and ongoing safety concerns.

Dean Mamer bought a house near the lagoons and moved in a short time before the flooding started. His house on Lillian Street is on high ground, so he was one of the lucky homeowners in the neighborhood who didn't get water in his basement.

Mamer stood on a small hill in his front yard last week surveying the flooding around the homes between the lagoons and the lake. Water still covered Lillian Street to the west of his house.

"My neighbors have been telling me they haven't seen it like this for 20 or 30 years," he said. "It came up pretty slowly and a lot of people were surprised it got up this high. I was keeping an eye on it saying, 'If it doesn't recede soon, I'm going to have a wet basement.' I'm the only house on this street that didn't get flooded."

The lagoon neighbors Mamer has talked to said their houses will survive the flooding. If the weather doesn't change, the worst is likely over.

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