Kent County estimates $6M in Grand River flood damage


The Grand River after the flood. Photo by Mike Nichols

The Kent County Equalization Bureau has filed a preliminary report on the property damage stemming from the flooding of the Grand River.

The total damage estimate so far is $6 million.

County Equalization Director Matt Woolford said of that $6 million total, roughly $4.7 million was assessed to private property, which includes businesses and homes. Another $1.3 million worth of damage has been found to public property.

But those figures are all but certain to rise.

“This is an early estimate, with about 35 percent of the damage not yet assessed,” said Woolford.

“There still are flood waters in homes and businesses. It is quite likely those properties have suffered major damage due to the duration of the water being in the structures,” he added.

The Kent County Road Commission has estimated the damage to county roads is $210,000.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, the state requested the current damage estimate on Tuesday. But it could be another two to three weeks before a final tally is completed.

The Kent County Health Department is cautioning that some well-water supplies may be contaminated if a well has been damaged, flooded, or has lost some water pressure.

“Flood water contains bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical toxins, which make people terribly sick,” said Adam London, acting health officer for the department. “This polluted water can contaminate a well and enter the home’s drinking water. If a well is contaminated, a licensed well driller or plumber can disinfect the well with chlorine.”

The county health department can test well water for bacteria. “It only costs $16 to have the KCHD test a water sample for contamination,” said London, who added that well water should be tested at least on an annual basis.

The health department has bottles for testing at its headquarters at 700 Fuller Ave. NE in Grand Rapids and at its clinics and in township offices throughout the county.

Both county and Grand Rapids commissioners extended the county’s state-of-emergency status through May 24 to allow assessors enough time to accurately calculate the flood damage.

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