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Cleanup continues two weeks after storm PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 20:33

Shane Lawless, of the Wauneta Public Works Department, deposits a destroyed evergreen tree from the park into an already overflowing pile of rubble last Friday. This mound of tree remains, which sits at the bottom of the hill near the village dump, is the result of a round of damaging storms which hit Wauneta on June 19 and 20. (Josh Sumner | The Wauneta Breeze)


By Josh Sumner

The Wauneta Breeze


City workers for the Village of Wauneta are close to completing the cleanup from a round of storms that hit town on June 19 and 20.

Roughly 20 homes or businesses in Wauneta lost trees after being hit by the violent weather, according to Wauneta Village Superintendent Bill Bischoff. Included in that count is 14 occupancies that needed electrical service work.

The town park also sustained damage, as several evergreen trees were either uprooted or turned into scattered piles of twigs.

Bischoff said calls began coming into emergency responders at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Monday, June 20, with reports of power outages. He and his crew worked to restore power until nearly 4 a.m., then quickly returned by 6 a.m. Workers from Imperial’s Public Works Department provided mutual aid in an effort to restore power and clean up the mess.

Two major power lines — the type that serve entire neighborhood blocks — were taken down by branches, said Bischoff. The main distribution line at the east end of Legion Street and the west end of Atoka Street each had to have branches removed. Power was temporarily shut off on Main St. while workers repaired the mess.

“Power was still running through those lines,” said Bischoff. He said workers waited until late afternoon on Monday to shut off the power, as part of an effort to minimize the disturbance to businesses and homeowners. In the meantime, crews worked on restoring power at those individual residences affected by outages.

Bischoff said power was restored to all Wauneta residents by Tuesday, however repairs to functioning power lines that had been damaged continued. Once that was finished, crews shifted their focus to hauling tree remains.

Two dump stations were created in town for city workers to drop rubble; one near the Wauneta Attendance Center Bus Barn, and the other behind Frenchman Valley Co-op.

Small chunks of debris from the storm were taken to a field owned by Jack and John Maddux, west of Wauneta, to be burned. Remaining trees and stumps currently housed at the village dump will be transported to a canyon south of Wauneta to be used for erosion control.

“Jack took the branches and small stuff to be burned, but what’s left is huge stuff that would burn forever,” said Bischoff. “It’s too large to burn.”

Bischoff estimates that his employees worked as many as 70 hours apiece in the week that followed the storms.

All told, when compared to other area communities which suffered extreme flooding, and even tornadoes, Wauneta seems to have made out okay.

“It could have been worse,” said Bischoff. “It could have been a lot worse. We never lost a pole or a major power line during the whole ordeal.”


Power outages hit Saturday, too

Bischoff and crew were busy again Saturday evening after strong gusting winds in excess of 65 mph knocked out power in areas of Wauneta. A set of power lines that got wrapped up behind Harchelroad motors had to be cut loose.

Those in town who still have branches in their yard, whether caused by the first round of storms or from Saturday’s strong winds, should haul them to the bottom of the hill at the village dump. Bischoff asks that citizens only drop off trees and limbs — no trash or other materials.

Once the rubble at the bottom of the hill is disposed of, barricades will be removed and the public can continue dropping off yard and tree waste at the regular designated area at the top of the hill.