June 10, 2013

Loebsack eyes flooding impact in New Sharon

The Oskaloosa Herald

NEW SHARON — Dave Loebsack, Democratic U.S. Congressman from Iowa’s 2nd District, met with New Sharon Mayor Dustin Hite and Jamey Robinson, director of Mahaska County Emergency Management, at New Sharon City Hall on Friday. CERT members were also on hand as these three met.

The trio discussed the impact flooding has had on New Sharon.

On Friday, Loebsack noted that there are no flood gages on the North Skunk River.

“That’s unacceptable, as far as I’m concerned,” said Loebsack in a Herald interview. “So, I’m going to do what I can to put folks here in the area in touch with the University of Iowa Flood Center. I’m not sure that we’ll ever get any gages on the North Skunk, but University of Iowa Flood Center is doing work all over the state and so that’s a first step in terms of trying to do a better job or providing any monitoring whatsoever.

Something has to be done on the North Skunk.”

During his time in New Sharon, Loebsack said he was going to go out by the river to see what happened and “what caused the problem in the first place.”

“Well, as a congressman representing this area, it’s really important for me that I get first-hand knowledge of exactly what the problem was and what it remains,” said Loebsack.

On Friday, Hite said he was very happy that Loebsack visited New Sharon, noting that “any support that he can give us is great.”

Beginning May 27, New Sharon was put under a boil order. A message on the city of New Sharon’s Web site on May 27 explained that, “Due to the rapidly rising North Skunk River, the City of New Sharon has issued a boil order to all of its water  customers.  Late last night, the waters of the North Skunk River flooded the City’s water facilities north of town.  The City is also requesting that all of its residents and customers conserve water until further notice.”

A message posted on the City of New Sharon Web site on May 31 notes the lifting of the boil order.

Bottled water distribution remained for much of the week of May 27. Robinson, along with CERT members helped distribute the water. Sandbagging of the city’s water facility also took place that week.

This past Friday, Hite said New Sharon residents were still being asked to conserve water because the city is still at half capacity with their wells. He also noted that the boil order was lifted and that water was safe to drink.