Marquette County hears an update on frozen pipe assistance, damage in the U.P. exceeds $13 million

Costs of frozen water pipe damage from this winter has exceeded $13 million in the Upper Peninsula, which is enough money to look into FEMA funding.

Marquette County Emergency Management Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach gave an update to the Marquette County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, and explained since the U.P. has reached $14 dollars in damages, the state can approach FEMA to come and do a preliminary damage assessment.

“The Emergency Management Division through the Michigan State Police in Lansing will put together a report.  And the report isn’t just a few pages, it could be the size of a book,” Schwalbach said.  “They have to gather all sorts of information, all the damage assessment we have they will put that in the report and they will submit it to Chicago–Region 5, FEMA Region 5 out of Chicago–and they will go through that information and they will make the determination if they are going to come here throughout the U.P.”

“The communities throughout the U.P. are deserving some help and hopefully we’ll get some help through FEMA or else we need some help from the State of Michigan,” Marquette County Board of Commissioners Chairman Gerry Corkin said.  “They (the state) were willing to help the City of Detroit with their bankruptcy, so the U.P. needs some help up here to help repair our water mains.”

Many communities are still having pipes burst even though its been warm for the past few weeks.

“This is a very unique event that isn’t like a normal event where the damage goes though and it’s done and you recover, this has been-now we’re in fourteen weeks, and it’s a long, drawn out incident,” Schwalbach said.

It could take months for FEMA to make a trip to the area.  Once a preliminary damage assessment is done, that report is sent to Washington to see if the U.P. qualifies for a presidential declaration.