City of Cloquet gives update on floodingAlthough the mayor of Cloquet declared a local emergency last Friday which City Council members extended Monday, away from the banks of the St. Louis River much of the city appears unscathed by last week’s massive rainfall and flooding.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Although the mayor of Cloquet declared a local emergency last Friday which City Council members extended Monday, away from the banks of the St. Louis River much of the city appears unscathed by last week’s massive rainfall and flooding.
But appearances can be deceptive.
According to Caleb Peterson, assistant city engineer, the city has been in waiting mode until the water levels go down significantly.
“It’s difficult to do a lot of assessment until we can see the problem areas,” Peterson said. “A lot of our problems will likely be in the sewer system, but we can’t get a camera down there until the water recedes.”
The city was doing relief pumping in the sanitary sewer of the most problematic areas of Cloquet in the days immediately following the flood, he said, to bring the water levels down faster. As for plans to clean up Dunlap Island’s Spafford and Voyageur’s parks, Peterson said the city may ask for volunteers to help. However, Spafford Park has reopened and is more than half full already.
A number of businesses in downtown Cloquet suffered damages from sewer backups into their basements.
A press release issued by the city last Friday explains that Cloquet does not have any method to provide individual cleanup or money for cleanup resulting from the storm or overflows of the storm water or sanitary sewer systems.
“Individuals should take whatever steps are necessary to remove any damaged or destroyed materials from their property. In the case that certain State or Federal assistance may become available, we would encourage all impacted residents to photograph and document any clean-up efforts as best they can,” Cloquet City Administrator Brian Fritsinger said. “There is no guarantee of any outside financial assistance being available to anyone, but by documenting problems and expenses as much as possible this information can be invaluable down the road.”
Mayor Bruce Ahlgren is optimistic that Carlton County will qualify for aid, but said residents and businesses should “document, document and take a lot of pictures.”
By declaring a state of emergency, city officials took the first step toward accessing any state or federal funds that may become available.
On Wednesday, Ahlgren toured Thomson with legislative leaders.
“Our state and federal government have come to our aid,” he said afterward. “I won’t say ‘rescue’ yet, because we haven’t seen any money. But I’m confident that we will qualify for some funding.”
Ahlgren added that he was also meeting with Gov. Dayton and his staff on Thursday in Duluth.