Flooded home repair not to be rushed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooded home repair not to be rushed

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DELHI (KWWL) -- The dam on Lake Delhi broke on July 24th.  One month later, two Lake Delhi homeowners call the recovery process a full-time job.

"We're doing one little thing at a time - constantly," homeowner Laurie Kretz said.

"Finally, after a month, it appears like we've got everything clean and sanitized," her husband Dave Kretz said.

The most important improvement they've made in the month since the flooding has been simply drying out.

"We had some guys come in late last week and measure the moisture content in our home, and a month ago, obviously, it was 100 percent. Now, we're down to almost zero," Dave Kretz said.

The ISU extension offices for both Delaware and Jones Counties having moisture meters available for homeowners to check out. (Delaware Co. ISU ext., Manchester: 563-927-4201, Jones Co. ISU ext., Anamosa: 319-462-2791)

"That way you know everything is good and dried out and you know you've got all the permitting that you need to do," Delaware County emergency management coordinator Mike Ryan said.

According to officials, a home should be at least 15 to 20 percent dried out before moving forward with construction.

However, Ryan said he suggests waiting until spring, since rushing a repair job could result in returning mold, or - worse - loss of insurance eligibility if proper building permit procedures aren't followed.

"We don't want folks to do anything that's going to put them in jeopardy of being able to buy flood insurance down the road, when it becomes available," he said.

Ryan said the Iowa DNR is currently in charge of allowing building permits within the flood plain. He said these rules may have been unclear in the recent past, as the DNR has been understaffed and enforcement of the jurisdiction hasn't been as tight as possible.

According to Ryan, FEMA plans on setting up a disaster recovery center for two months in the old lumberyard in Earlville.

If inspectors approve that site for the center, people can go there to apply for recovery relief or ask questions.

Officials hope to get that up and running by August 31.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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