Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Real Life's A Beach (cont'd)

This is a continuing series which began here

Beginning around December 3, 1982, heavy rains caused the Meramec River, which flows by Times Beach, to flood. Waters crested at 22 feet. Times Beach was hardest hit and most of its 800 buildings were heavily damaged. But as the water receded most residents began to move back to rebuild what remained of their homes. Federal flood insurance was created to help homeowners and businesses to rebuild after such flood disasters. Two years previously, though, Times Beach had become one of the few communities in the nation to be suspended from the program because municipal ordinances had fallen short of new government specifications. A town meeting had been held to explain what changes were necessary including a raising of all buildings by 18 feet. [8] "It would have been economically and physically impossible to comply," said a town attorney. [8] This meant that no federal grants or loans would be available to repair damaged homes or businesses. Residents got this news the same night that they learned that private tests had shown potentially harmful levels of dioxin in Times Beach. Missouri's Governor Bond, who had been pressing EPA to approve a buy-out of six homes at the Minker/Stout site, now urged that if official test results showed high enough dioxin levels, Times Beach should be bought out as well. [9] An editorial which appear in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch summarized Times Beach resident's plight:
Grants for temporary housing and for replacing lost furnishings are available from the Federal Emergency Management Fund. Aid for rebuilding in the flood plain is not available. Loans for rebuilding in other areas may be available from the Small Business Administration (commercial structures only) and other federal programs. But the resident's chief concern - the loss of their homes - can only be met by some sort of buy-out. [10]
[8] "2 Towns along Meramec lack U.S. Flood Insurance," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7 December, 1982, sec A, p. 4.

[9] Janice Long, David J. Hanson, "Dioxin issue focuses on three major controversies in the U.S." Chemical and Engineering News, 6 June, 1983, p. 23.

[10] "Disaster at Times Beach," an editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 28 Dec., 1982, sec A, p. 1.

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