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Flood Update and Revised Evacuation Area

Flood Update and Revised Evacuation Area

September 28, 2016

Flood Update and Revised Evacuation Area

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – September 28, 2016 –The Cedar River level is slowing dropping after cresting at nearly 22 feet yesterday. The river will likely remain high for the next several days, and is expected to reach approximately 18 feet by Thursday early evening. The evacuation area has been adjusted to a smaller perimeter. Barricades and access control points have been moved to the revised perimeter and will continue to be monitored for public safety.

Detailed maps of the area showing the initial and revised evacuation area, as well as an address list are available on the City website: www.cedar-rapids.org

Residents are still urged to stay out of the revised evacuation area and to heed curfew times until the flood risk has passed. Do not go near the temporary flood control system or go near water. Cedar Rapids is still at major flood stage, and residents should stay out of the evacuation area for their safety.

Crews from the City as well as private contractors and the Army Corps of Engineers worked throughout the night to monitor for any potential weaknesses, seepage, or breeches. Efforts focused on mitigating water seeping out of the storm sewer system by using pumps and reinforcing with plugs. The temporary flood measures of nearly 40,000 feet of Hesco barriers, as well as earth berms have been holding up well.

Crews will continue to spend the day monitoring the system for breaches or weaknesses. Until the river recedes to a safer level, the public is advised to stay out of the evacuation area. Evaluations will be ongoing to determine when it is safe to allow residents and property owners back into their homes and businesses. The City is asking the public to remain patient as crews work to maintain for the safety of the public. Bridges and roads will reopen as soon as possible. Transit services have been suspended through Friday, September 30, and will be reevaluated and reestablished as soon as possible.

Public Safety
The left inside lane which is closest to the median of U.S. Interstate 380 is no longer restricted to just emergency vehicles. As a reminder, motorists should pay attention to the roadway and avoid distracted driving while crossing the Cedar River. 

Information on Re-Entry of Home or Business
Flood water – even minimal levels – can create safety hazards in your home or business. Re-establishing safe utility services are critical as residents re-enter and evaluate their properties. Properties may have water in the basement from sewer backup. If your electrical system, furnace and water heater have been submerged for any reason, they are to be considered dangerous and unsafe.

Call both your electrical and gas provider immediately:

Alliant Energy – 1-800-ALLIANT or 1-800-255-4268

MidAmerican Energy – 1-888-427-5632

You will need to hire a contractor properly registered with the State of Iowa to repair the damage before it is safe to return electrical and/or gas utilities. If you are uncertain whether a contractor is registered, the City has established a phone line and will verify if the contractor is properly registered and licensed by the State of Iowa.  Please call 319-286-5929.  This is not a contractor referral, but is a verification service. We encourage you to get referrals from friends and family on contractors. 

The contractor must obtain a Flood Permit from the City to make repairs. The Mayor has waived the fee for Flood Permits which will be issued for all repairs within the flood inundation level.

Upon completion of work, a City inspector will then inspect the work, and if determined safe, will provide a release number for Alliant Energy and MidAmerican to turn the utilities back on.

Disposal of Flood Debris
Those outside of the revised evacuation area can now begin the process of evaluating their properties and cleaning up any flood debris. Residents are asked to place flood debris into four separate piles at the curb: one for drywall, carpet, and other household flood debris; one for household hazardous materials like oil-based paints and stains, automotive fluids, and cleaning supplies; one for appliances; and one for electronics. The City will collect these items for free; however, the Solid Waste & Recycling Division will not be able to determine how long collection will take until all residents are back in their homes and they have a better sense of the total amount of debris that will need to be collected.

Disposal of Sandbags
Residents who need to dispose of sandbags are asked to keep them at their property. The City will partner with a contractor to collect sandbags at no charge from residential properties. The City will communicate additional information regarding where sandbags should be placed for collection soon. If residents do not want to wait to dispose of sandbags, they can haul them to the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency and dispose of them. Regular Agency disposal fees will apply for any flood debris or sandbags that are hauled to the Solid Waste Agency’s landfill. Further information concerning the safe disposal or sandbags will be shared as this information is finalized.

As a reminder: Solid Waste and Recycling will not be collecting in the flood evacuation zone this week; normal collection will continue throughout the rest of the city. Starting October 3rd, Solid Waste & Recycling collection will resume as scheduled for customers who were within the evacuation area. These customers will be allowed to put out two 35-gallon bags of household garbage with their collection carts for no additional fee. The public is asked to use water conservatively to assist the storm sewer system. Transit operations are suspended through Sept. 30 until the flood risk recedes and additional roads can be safely re-opened.

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