PORT DEPOSIT - Even as damage assessment to homes from weekend flooding continued yesterday, local officials said it would cost more than $600,000 to bring the municipal water and sewage systems back to full capacity.
"We're still producing good-quality water, but we are only producing about half as much," said Mayor Robert Flayhart, whose town suffered flooding as remnants of Hurricane Ivan pushed through the area, forcing operators of the Conowingo Dam to undertake a controlled release of water from the swollen Susquehanna River.
Yesterday, Flayhart accompanied inspectors from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency as they began tallying the damage to homes.
State officials expect to release a property damage report today.
Flayhart said Port Deposit's water treatment plant, which serves 324 homes, was choked by silt from the muddy water that has collected in the plant's sediment tank.
"It now takes us 10 to 12 hours to produce 250,000 gallons of water," Flayhart said, during a news conference on the granite steps of Town Hall. "It would normally take about six hours."
Flayhart said the flood also damaged the town's sewage pumping station. He hopes that both systems will be repaired within a day or two with no interruption of service.
In a sign that the flood threat is easing, officials of Exelon Power, which owns and operates Conowingo Dam, had only 19 of the dam's floodgates open yesterday. That was down from a high a of 33 on Sunday and Monday.
River created at 6 feet
Flayhart said the river crested at 6 feet above flood level at 3 a.m. Monday. He said yesterday that the river was below flood level.
Residents were left with the task of cleaning up.
Donald and Carlene Poist had about 6 feet of water in the basement of their North Main Street home. The water came within a few inches of creeping into the first floor of their home, one of about 35 in town that suffered flood damage.
Yesterday, the family was busy carrying books, televisions, toasters and dishes and other household items from an upstairs bedroom where they were placed to protect them from high water.
"Our daughter moved out most of our furniture Saturday to her home in Perryville," said Carlene Poist, who has lived in town for 54 years and experienced many floods.
Perryville had its own problem with flooding, Mayor Jim Eberhardt said.
Eberhardt said the town's water plant draws from the Susquehanna River, and the supply lines seem to be clogged. The plant's water production is down about 50 percent.
To keep water flowing to the town's 4,500 residents, the mayor said, Perryville has connected to the Perry Point water system. It also has had firetrucks haul water from Rising Sun and Charlestown.
Eberhardt said Perryville's water is safe, but as an extra precaution the town has encouraged residents to boil water before drinking it.
Elsewhere in the area, Harford County officials said extensive tree damage occurred in the Joppa/Joppatowne and Whiteford/Pylesville areas.
County spokeswoman Merrie Street said there were no reports of injuries, but that several homes in the Whiteford area suffered severe damage.