Metro-East News

Pontoon Beach flood waters recede, but not for all; counties working to estimate damage

Twenty flood victims still in Pontoon Beach flood shelter

American Red Cross sheltering supervisor Carolyn Adams and flood victim Quentin Berry, 15, talk about the issues keeping people from returning home after last week's flooding in Pontoon Beach, IL. Twenty victims stayed Sunday night again at Nameok
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American Red Cross sheltering supervisor Carolyn Adams and flood victim Quentin Berry, 15, talk about the issues keeping people from returning home after last week's flooding in Pontoon Beach, IL. Twenty victims stayed Sunday night again at Nameok

The water is still dropping — maybe not as fast as residents would like — yet there are still people out of their homes and seeking emergency shelter in the Granite City area.

There were 22 people in the flood shelter Sunday night at Nameoki United Methodist Church, 1900 Pontoon Road in Granite City, said American Red Cross sheltering supervisor Carolyn Adams. She said the group expects to feed 40 people lunch and 50 dinner on Monday. About 20 are again expected to spend Monday night in the emergency shelter.

Adams said donations of food and personal hygiene items are being brought to the church and then distributed to flood victims. She said there has been a need for school uniforms, which other groups are filling.

She said while donations are being taken at the church, they are being steered to the Community Care Center, 1818 Cleveland Blvd. in Granite City. They can be reached at 618-876-8770. She said Red Cross volunteers are not equipped to sort and handle donated goods, but she encouraged cash donations at the Red Cross website.

The shelter is not turning anyone away, so a few of the overnight residents may have been homeless before the flood, she said. Most lost their homes in the flood.

Besides the Mallard Lake neighborhood in Pontoon Beach, flood waters are still curbing access to another mobile home park off Chain of Rocks Road near Pontoon Beach. Residents said they believe water is draining slowly because debris is clogging the normal drainage channels.

During, after the flood

Here are views of the Mallard Lake neighborhood from a week ago and on Monday. Move the slider to see the scene last week and then again as it appeared Monday.

Counties surveying damage

With water levels going down, St. Clair County officials are putting together damage estimates to people’s houses and to infrastructure such as roads, said Herb Simmons, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency.

The county EMA is using its Facebook page to ask people to call in damage reports. Information will be used to send damage estimates to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to see if there was enough for state financial assistance through matching grants, Simmons said.

Only then would FEMA come in with assistance, Simmons said.


St. Clair County EMA continues to collect data as it relates to flood damage within the county. Should you have flood...

Posted by St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency on Monday, January 4, 2016

Simmons said he expects to need a damage assessment complete within the next week or two.

Simmons added workers in municipalities and townships were assessing damage to roads.

Anne Markezich, the director of the St. Clair County Building and Zoning Department, said people will need to take out building permits if there is enough damage to require alterations to a house, such as doing structural repairs, or replacing a whole wall or whole floor.

She said she expected possible needs for electrical service upgrades in houses after flooding issues.

“A lot of people don’t realize they need a building permit to do something,” Markezich said, who added the first thing people might do is starting repairs right away.

Taking out a permit allows for an inspection of the work, Markezich said.

In St. Clair County, alteration projects that cost $10,000 or less would require a $200 permit. Projects between $10,000 and $50,000 would have a $250 permit fee. Projects that are greater than $50,000 would have a $300 permit fee.

In Madison County, officials are compiling a damage assessment that will be provided to state and federal agencies to determine what kind of financial assistance will be made available.

“We know that the Mitchell and Pontoon (Beach) areas took the biggest hit with about 400 families evacuated from their homes,” said county administrator Joseph Parente. “The city of Alton also incurred significant costs associated with flood fighting.”

Madison County’s emergency management agency is working with the Red Cross to provide families with flood clean-up kits, Parente said. They are being distributed at the county’s emergency operations center at 101 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River.

Parente said that property owners should contact their local municipality’s building and zoning departments for information on permits required for flood damage repairs. In the meantime, he said the county is working to facilitate communication between electrical providers and inspectors to restore power to evacuated homes as soon as possible.

BND reporter Elizabeth Donald contributed to this report.