The waters damaged about 30 homes in the Bulan and Hardburly communities last Monday and washed out six culverts as approximately three inches of rain fell in a short time span, causing creeks and streams to over flow their banks.
The fiscal court worked last week to replace culverts damaged by the water in the Bulan area. Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble estimates that it will cost the county $150,000 to clean up the mess, but says that amount could increase to a half-million dollars if the damage is declared a disaster in the private sector as well.
On Thursday, county employees worked to replace a large culvert that had washed out in an area that was about 20 feet deep and 50 feet long on Hudson Lane by using a culvert that was donated by Pine Branch Coal, which saved the county about $15,000, Noble said.
And on Monday, a week after the flood, crews continued to work to replace a culvert at Nora Walker’s home on Walker Lane just off Hwy 476. She said that it and part of her driveway were washed out when debris became trapped in the old culvert causing water to back up around it. She also said the water damaged her yard and got in her basement, leaving behind mud while destroying her car, a 1995 Chevy Lumina.
“I got up that morning and the water was going down my yard. It was all the way up to the back lights (of her car) when I got to the porch, now it won’t start,” the 83-year-old said while noting she had lived in the home for 60 years and never flooded before.
Walker said her son came from Mt. Sterling to help her clean up the mess, which still includes the sticks, debris, and garbage the waters left in her yard after they receded.
But for some like Kay and Curtiss Spicer who live on Duane Mountain, the flooding was the result of a stopped up culvert that caused the water flowing down the ditch to become backed up and overflow across Hwy. 476 rushing into their yard and basement.
Even though they say they might have received some water from the storm, the damage they sustained could have been prevented if the culvert would have been unstopped two years ago when they first brought its condition to the state highway department’s attention.
“We possibly would have gotten some water, but we wouldn’t have got this,” Kay Spicer said, while Curtiss added, “If this culvert and the one up there had been open, who knows, I’m not saying we wouldn’t have gotten any water because three inches of rain is a lot of rain in an hour and a half.”
The Spicers say their flood was caused by two culverts, one across the road from their home and another just up Hwy. 476 being stopped up and note it’s a problem they spoke with state highway officials about on several occasions before the flood, but were told it couldn’t be fixed because it was on private property.
“We had contacted them several times before to unstop it but they ignored us. Denny Ray [Noble] called twice in the last month and a half to get them to fix this,” Kay Spicer said while adding that a crew from the county road department unstopped the culvert after Judge Noble declared a state of emergency and completely replaced it on Tuesday, but not before the water got in their basement and caused a wall of concrete blocks in their yard to collapse.
“It’s not the amount of damage, some people were worse than I. The fact is it could’ve been avoided if the state would’ve done their job,” Kay said.
“Our tax money is paying their salaries for them to completely ignore our problems and say it was private property when an engineer that is now working, Jim Boggs, said it was not private and it should’ve been fixed,” she continued.
Work will continue in the area until everything is back to normal.