Federal, state, and country officials will tour Kane County this week to determine if the damage incurred from last month's flooding rains warrant a federal disaster declaration.
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn has already declared Kane County a state disaster. Now, it is up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see the damage in Aurora, Elgin and northern communities.
"The Fox River may have gone down, but (inspectors) will be looking at the marks made by the high water levels," said Don Bryant, director of Kane County's Emergency Management Agency. "They also may be knocking on some residents' doors to see how badly they were affected."
Early estimates placed damage to 900 properties along the swollen Fox River, streams that feed into it and in low-lying areas. To municipalities, the cost of the flooding has been estimated at $3 million, Bryant said.
That amount includes money cities and villages have paid their employees in overtime to help homeowners with flooded homes, yards and basements.
"Much of the damage has been in Aurora, but pockets of the entire county have seen losses," he said.
The state disaster declaration allows the municipalities to recover some of its money. A federal disaster declaration will allowed homeowners to apply for grants to pay for the cost of cleaning up the mess left behind.
"Now, mold is going to be a big problem," Bryant said. "Once the water gets into the wood frames of the homes, it could go up the walls."
If not cleaned, the mold may cause residents health problems for years.
County employees have already distributed 250 cleanup kits provided by the American Red Cross. They have 25 kits left. Each kit contains bleach, disinfectant, a mop, a broom, and latex gloves.
Any homeowner who needs a free kit is urged to call Bryant at (630) 232-5985. Also, they are urged to go to the county management agency's Internet site at kcoem.org/. The site offers suggestions on how residents should work in flood-damaged homes. Some of them are:
• If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
• Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
• During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.