Clean-up efforts continue in Kanawha and Fayette counties in wake of flooding

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials in Kanawha and Fayette counties continued assessing damage from Monday’s flood on Wednesday as residents and crews resumed cleaning up debris.

A state of emergency remains in effect for Kanawha and Fayette counties. More than 100 homes were affected by the high water, which also damaged local roads and impacted local infrastructure systems.

Smithers Mayor Anne Cavalier noted 40 homes in the community were “significantly damaged.”

“Lots of cars, lots of trucks, lots of property washed down Smithers Creek,” she added

Kanawha County Emergency Management Director C.W. Sigman said damage to area roads is affecting the distribution of certain resources. The state Division of Highways estimates damages to state-maintained roads and bridges in Kanawha and Fayette counties will exceed more than $1 million.

Officials are also learning more about how flooding impacted local sewer systems. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued a recreational use advisory on Wednesday for a portion of the Kanawha River between Smithers and the London Locks and Dam because of concerns about raw sewage contaminating the river. Officials do not believe drinking water sources have been contaminated.

The Kanawha County Commission has dedicated $25,000 for purchasing clean-up supplies. The Malden and Cedar Grove volunteer fire departments are responsible for collecting and distributing supplies. Crews have also begun picking up flood debris in impacted areas.

“If you bring the flood debris to the edge of your yard, right there at the road, we’re going to stop and pick it up,” Commissioner Ben Salango said. “We’re going to run those from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day until next Sunday, Aug. 21.”

According to Salango, the commission previously allocated $250,000 for emergencies.

“We had the money available and we tapped into it, and we’re going to do all we can to help with the clean-up,” he added.

Salango added, “We’re doing as much as we can to help, even though this is going to be a long process. This is not going to be a quick clean-up.”

Cavalier said the community is trying to keep a positive attitude as the work continues.

“Neighbors are taking care of neighbors, families are taking care of families. We’re taking care of one another here,” she said.

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