Lake Delhi recovery continues one week after dam breach - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lake Delhi recovery continues one week after dam breach

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DELHI (KWWL)--- It's been one week since the dam at Lake Delhi failed.  Flood waters following the breach left a lot of homes and property in ruins.  Initial recovery efforts were focused on getting food, water, and shelter to flood victims.  And now, that recovery will soon be shifting to the empty lake bed.

Lake Delhi is now reduced to a bed of silt and sand.  And the debris left behind from the dam failure here is only becoming more evident.  Entire boats, docks, and pieces of them are everywhere.  And removing them is the next phase of recovering from this disaster.

"We will get the area declared open and safe as soon as we can.  And then it's a matter of the exposed lake bed we want to clean up.  And we will do that.  We will coordinated that effort," Jim Willey, Lake Delhi Recreation Association president.

Once that happens, Delhi residents will also be able to clear large debris in the empty lake bed. But if it crosses into someone else's property, you must get permission from that property owner to remove your belongings.

"In Lake Delhi, all the exposed lake bed belongs to either the adjacent property owner or to the Lake Delhi Recreation Association itself.  And so non of it is public property where the public water once was.  It is now private land," Willey said.

Some insurance companies have already hired professionals to begin removing boats and other property from the lake bed.  And in the coming weeks and months, the Lake Delhi Recreation Association will begin its efforts to clear away debris.

"It's going to be a long process.  This process will go on until the dam comes back, the water comes back, the lake comes back is how long that will take," said Chris Willey, flood recovery coordinator.

Once the lake bed is cleared, dredging can begin.  Those are the first small steps toward the long recovery, aimed at restoring Lake Delhi better than it was before the dam disaster.

Volunteers are also still needed to help in the recovery process at Lake Delhi.  To volunteer, call 563-922-2058.

Meanwhile, we're told FEMA's preliminary flood damage assessments are now complete.  Governor Chet Culver has sent a request to President Obama, asking that the Delhi area get a federal disaster declaration.  That declaration would clear the way for additional flood recovery funding.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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