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posted: 5/2/2013 7:21 PM

Flood sandbag collection in unincorporated areas to begin May 13

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  • Crews prepare sandbags for Fox Lake-area residents in early April.

      Crews prepare sandbags for Fox Lake-area residents in early April.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer


Sandbags used to hold back floodwater in unincorporated areas along the Fox River and Chain O' Lakes will be collected starting May 13, Lake County officials said Thursday.

Residents in those areas are asked to move used sandbags to the side of the road for collection, said C. Kent McKenzie, Lake County's emergency management coordinator.

"We know people are excited to get those used sandbags away from their house," McKenzie said.

Residents in Fox Lake, Antioch, Lake Villa or other municipalities should contact their local village for details on sandbag pickup, he said.

Water levels on the Chain dipped to 6.3 feet Thursday, about a foot over flood levels but about 18 inches below last week's high-water mark.

McKenzie said residents can pick up free cleanup kits at their township or municipal offices. The kits consist of a bucket, mop, bleach, and other supplies.

The county is compiling damage assessments for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in hopes of receiving a disaster declaration, he said. If there is such a declaration for Lake County, those affected by flooding might be eligible for grants or low-interest loans from FEMA.

The county and local governments have reported about $4.7 million in cleanup and damage costs, but a damage total for private property is still being compiled.

"We are hopeful there will be a federal declaration, but it's never a guarantee," McKenzie said. "It's hard to know what FEMA will do. There are a large number of people who have damage, but not many who suffered major damage."

FEMA defines major damage as more than a foot of water in essential living spaces, he said. That does not include water in basements or crawlspaces.

People should document any damage through pictures, he said, and make a list of possessions damaged or destroyed by flooding.

Residents are urged to save all receipts for flood-related costs, such as for hotels, cleanup, replacement and repair.

Officials visited flood-affected counties to conduct damage assessments this week. McKenzie said it is important for residents to report damage to their municipality. Those living in unincorporated areas should call the Lake County Department of Planning, Building and Development at (847) 377-2081.

People looking to see if they are eligible for state assistance through a low-interest loan program can call the Illinois treasurer's disaster recovery hotline at (866) 523-0641 or visit

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