Harkin tours Lake Delhi damage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Harkin tours Lake Delhi damage

LAKE DELHI (KWWL) -- Since the Lake Delhi dam breech people have been asking what's next. Tuesday afternoon Iowa Senator Tom Harkin toured the area and learned just how much it has impacted the community.

Joe Hoeger has collected piles of debris from the Delhi flood two weeks ago.

"We had a tremendous amount of water come down through here with a lot debris, crop damage, stream bank damage. It's just a big mess," Hoeger said.

Two weeks ago more than 70 acres of land were underwater.

"I always wondered as a kid what it was gonna be like if the damn broke and now I know," Hoeger said.

Tuesday Senator Harkin toured the Hoeger farm and saw the devastation.

"That's quite a hole back there and pictures and words don't really do justice to it," Harkin said.

Just last week Harkin told reporters in a conference call, he doubted Delhi would receive federal assistance. But after touring the area Tuesday, he's changed his mind.

"I've learned a lot in the last 24-48 hours I didn't know before. And there's a lot of confusion out there about private entities, public entities," Harkin said.

Delhi Association President Jim Willey says only two weeks after the lake drained, they're already seeing an economic impact. And that will continue if property taxes stop contributing to the county.

"We'll do everything we can but this is a resource that does deserve public dollars to be put back together," Willey said.

And with a lot of unanswered questions like "who will pay?" and "when will it happen?", it will all come down to patience.

"It's my information that the dam is a public structure and would have to be built to different standards. And that's gonna cost a lot more. I'm guessing its gonna take a combination of public and private," Harkin said.

Something Hoeger says will take time.

"My biggest concern is if they do decide to rebuild the dam then it should be privately funded and also have someone in there that can manage the flow of water," Hoeger said.

There is a disaster declaration request for federal funding on President Obama's desk. Now officials are waiting to see if they receive help before moving forward.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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