Hardwick, News

Select Board Gets Update on Flood Recovery Efforts

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
The box culvert remains on Carey Road in Hardwick, although state bridge inspectors say it has been undermined and its fate is still unknown at this time. Carey Road connecting to both sides of the culvert was destroyed by the massive flooding of Nichols Brook overflowing from Mackville Pond July 10.

by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – At a July 28 special meeting, the Hardwick Select Board received a detailed update on efforts to repair damage from the recent flooding.

Town Manager David Upson reported on the town’s flood remediation efforts. Upson and board Chair Eric Remick, and Hardwick Town Business Manager Casey Rowell met with AC Disaster Consulting to discuss what services they might be able to offer us in the interim until the town can put out an RFP for a consultant. The typical FEMA reimbursement covers 5% of total damages for management/consultant fees. He is working on a way for people to bring their flood debris to AMR after the fact. However, all damages need to be reported to be reimbursed by FEMA. A temporary hazardous materials site has been established at All Metals Recycling. The EPA will pick up and pay for disposal of this waste.

Board member Shari Cornish mentioned that she saw on the news that individuals can check in with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about river corridor clean-up. Upson said that the state is working on a plan for those clean-up efforts. The state is likely to hire a contractor to do the river clean-up. Residents could start doing some themselves but would likely have to foot the bill.

There will be a disaster recovery center open at Hardwick Elementary School until school begins. Board member Elizabeth Dow asked about tracking of private recovery efforts. Upson replied that the Neighbor-to-Neighbor group and Civic Standard are keeping good notes of the in-kind activities.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
The destruction on Carey Road in Hardwick was disastrous. Many roads in the area were severely damaged from the July 10 historic flood. As of July 31 only two of Hardwick’s roads are still closed, Carey Road and Tucker Brook Road.

Upson also reported that the town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) expired two months ago. This will affect the percentage of the funding match. It would typically be 75% FEMA and 25% state. With the expired plan, the town would have to contribute 17.5% out of pocket, instead of having 100% funded by FEMA and the state. The town has a consultant who is going to update the HMP, and the state is willing to accept it for review, which may eliminate this issue if the revisions are accepted. Michael Gagner mentioned that Barre is in a similar situation with an expired plan. He said that we could submit for a match waiver if we can meet hardship requirements. There is also an option to document enough volunteer hours to cover the match requirements.

Town Manager Upson reported that Neagley and Chase have been on site at the wastewater plant, continuing the refurbishment project elements that they can, while also helping with the immediate flood remediation issues. They are tracking the flood work separately. The electrical components damaged in the flood alone are estimated to cost more than $110,000. Upson said that because the town was not able to get additional funds from the state for the sludge clean-out, less sludge than originally planned will be removed. The only option is to move the sludge from one lagoon to the other one that was already emptied.

Upson also shared that Neagley and Chase are going to continue paying the subcontractors while waiting to be reimbursed by the town. It could take several months to get FEMA reimbursements.

Next, Upson reported that efforts to minimize discharge into Lamoille River after the flood were diligent and there were only about 36 hours water treatment was restarted.

Board chair Remick asked about bringing the Hardwick Electric Department (HED) into the consulting process. Upson replied that the issue could be raised with the HED commissioners, since a joint effort would be beneficial. Remick suggested that a board member and the Town Manager attend an HED meeting to suggest working together in the disaster recovery efforts.

Business Manager Rowell mentioned that the town is likely to receive a scope of work from AC Disaster Consulting on the day of the meeting (last Friday) and that to expedite the process, the board should authorize the Town Manager to proceed if it happens to be more than his authority level. This is a reimbursable expense from FEMA.

The board voted to authorize the Town Manager to enter a short-term contract with AC Disaster Consulting.

Board member Cornish reminded everyone that there will be a second public engagement event on August 2, at 6 p.m., at the Town House to gather feedback on the LVRT trailhead designs for three trailheads in Hardwick and East Hardwick.

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