Water Recedes; Homeowners Realize Flood Damage

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(Host) As Lake Champlain’s record high flooding recedes, homeowners are realizing all the ways it has damaged their homes – from their cellars to their water supply. As Kirk Carapezza reports, in Saint Albans many of them are just trying to dry out:

(Carapezza) Saint Albans has a long shoreline – almost ten miles. And the water is so high around the bay that it now surrounds Joy Kipp’s home. From a distance, it looks like a boat house.

(Kipp) "We don’t live on the lake, we live in the lake."

(Carapezza) Kipp says the water is receding, but it still fills her basement. And she and her husband are boiling their drinking water. Kipp has also been using public showers provided by the town because she’s worried about runoff and toxins in the water supply. And the flooding has made it difficult to get to and from her house because it’s surrounded by more than an acre of water.

(Kipp) "The biggest problem was going out and in. And my son, he said it’s kind of cleansing when you walk into the house — it’s kind of like a moat, like a soul moat. And I thought, ‘That is such a beautiful way to look at it.’"

(Carapezza) Kipp says she and her husband are just now getting around to reporting all the damage to their property – to their septic and electrical systems; their lawn and garden; their well and holding tank; the siding and the very foundation of the house.

Meanwhile, the town is trying to reconnect a road between Kipp’s house and the town center.

Steve Beauregard manages the town’s Department of Public Works. The Select Board has approved a plan for him and his crew to construct a temporary 300-foot gravel road adjacent to one that has been washed out.

(Beauregard) "So the barriers aren’t all up quite yet but then we’ll start with gravel at the level of the water and just basically build a couple inches over the water so that basically everybody can just drive right through here.

(Carapezza) Hundreds of lakefront homeowners are waiting to see if the state will qualify for federal funds to pay for this road and for damage to their property. But at her water-logged home, Joy Kipp is just trying to keep perspective.

(Kipp) "We live on the lake. That’s a blessing to itself. So you have to deal with the things that come with that. Nature has its own way, and…"

And Kipp says, whatever happens, we have to respect that.

For VPR News, I’m Kirk Carapezza.


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