Federal disaster aid is on its way to help Washington County recover from its severe flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Saturday.
On Sept. 11, heavy rains breached an earthen dike above Santa Clara, flooding dozens of homes and businesses and causing more than $3 million in public property damage. The costs exceeded the county's ability to pay for the repairs on its own.
After county leaders declared a state of emergency, President Barack Obama signed his own declaration Saturday to open up federal funds on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms.
"There's been a lot going on with the campaign and Sandy, we were worried we were going to be buried," said Santa Clara City Manager Ed Dickie. But after much hoping and waiting, he said he was "very happy" when word of the funds came down Saturday morning.
Federal funds are also available for hazard-mitigation measures across the state.
The city has been able to repair some infrastructure and sidewalks and created temporary water channels, but the 40-foot dike still needs to be repaired, Dickie said.
"It's a huge project, and we [had] no money for it," he said.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service also promised $70,000 in federal funds for Santa Clara, though Dickie said it has yet to arrive.