State help sought for Groton flooding

SANDUSKY Erie County commissioners are asking the state to provide help to waterlogged Groton Township. The commission
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Erie County commissioners are asking the state to provide help to waterlogged Groton Township.

The commissioners passed a resolution Thursday declaring a state of emergency in the township due to the March 24 heavy rains that fueled severe flooding. The commissioners' resolution follows a similar state of emergency declaration that Groton Township's trustees approved Friday.

Commissioners Tom Ferrell, Bill Monaghan and Nancy McKeen also signed a letter to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency asking for "supplemental financial assistance" because of the flooding.

Bill Walker, director of Erie County's Emergency Management Agency, said he doesn't know how much state money could become available to reimburse local governments for the money that's been spent to fight the flood.

"We have until next Friday to come up with preliminary costs," he said.

A federal disaster declaration apparently is not feasible, Walker said.

To obtain it, Erie County would have to find 25 houses with severe damage.

"We don't have that," Walker said.

Walker told commissioners Thursday Ohio 269 remains closed south of Strecker Road because of the flooding.

"It hasn't gone down much there," Commissioner Nancy McKeen remarked.

"No, it has not," Walker replied.

Several pumps and pipelines have been set up to pump water out of the flooded areas and dump the water into Mills Creek so it can be carried away, Walker said.

"A lot of that stuff is underground. It's coming up out of the ground," Walker said.

Part of it is runoff, he said.

Walker said aerial photos taken in 1971 and new photos show that flooding has occurred in almost exactly the same places.

Unfortunately, since then houses were built in some of the low-lying areas, said Walker and Eric Dodrill, district director for Erie Soil and Water Conservation District.

"There are homes in those bowls that aren't there in 1971," Dodrill told the commissioners.

Walker said several dozen volunteers, including people from churches, showed up to fill sandbags over the weekend.

"We have enough sandbags. It's looking pretty good," Walker said.

He said Hanson Quarry has helped by sending a crew every day.

The Red Cross has supplied food, and other volunteers also have stepped up, he said.

Walker said flooding problems in Groton Township are likely to persist.

"This is going to happen again. It's three times now in the last four years," he said.