Power, water, and sewer se
rvices have been restored. The emergency crews (heroes) have returned home. The drone of chainsaws and emergency generators have silenced. However, Florida Panhandle communities hit by Hurricane Michael are still recovering from the devastation - particularly rural communities.
Florida Rural Water Association is advocating with the Florida Legislature for water and wastewater systems impacted by Hurricane Michael. We have prepared the attached disaster estimate of storm damages to water and wastewater infrastructure. The repair estimates have been developed using utility input, field observations by circuit riders, utility emergency relief personnel, and engineers, and experience gained from other disasters that have hit Florida over the decades.
We're doing what we always do, promote your interests. We have teamed up with the Florida League of Cities, Florida Association of Counties, Florida Section of AWWA, and Florida Water Environment Association. There is already a bill filed in the Senate for $50M in relief funds to impacted utilities.
|Areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael.
The damage estimates are likely low (understated). It is common that emergency repairs have a short-term life and actual damages are not known or knowable immediately after the disaster. The emergency workers, or "MacGyvers," patch the water system in one place and quickly move on. These repairs are performed using "bailing wire and duct tape" and work well enough to serve for the moment.
Underlying damage is often not known until the facilities are re-energized and more fully operational, and complete capital cost estimates developed by operators, maintenance staff, managers, engineers, etc.
Plus, extensively damaged infrastructure is likely undersized, old, or outdated. Repairs to facilities beyond their useful life are not often simply replaced and upgraded to meet current needs.
For a look at the draft of the impacts and damage estimates click