As costs climb, Tulare County assessing damage from Kings River flooding

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Tuesday, Tulare County employees walked a neighborhood next to Kings River Golf Course and Country Club. (KFSN)

Tuesday, Tulare County employees walked a neighborhood next to Kings River Golf Course and Country Club. They checked with homeowners about any environmental issues because of the flooding.

Thankfully, officials say those issues are minimal, as the water receded before it touched homes.

"We'll have a pretty good assessment of this neighborhood by the end of today for sure," said Tulare County Environmental Health Specialist Ross Collins.

Collins says they are mainly looking for any water contamination problems caused by the flooding. A few homes had wells surrounded by floodwater, so they will need to be sanitized. They're also checking for any household products or waste that could taint the water supply, such as pool chemicals, or propane tanks.

"Waste oil, waste coolant from automobiles, paint, a lot of people have paint around, things that can contaminate and cause an environmental health issue," Collins said. "If there's any loss of electricity to the homes, there might be some environmental health issues with food spoilage, things like that."

Tuesday morning, Tulare County supervisors unanimously voted to ratify evacuation orders near the Kings River, as well as proclaim a local emergency, which could help the county seek financial assistance from the state.

So far, the county has spent approximately $250,000 on the incident.

"We're using bulldozers, we're using helicopters, a lot of different resources that cost a lot of money, but in incidents like this, the only to mitigate them is to have that type of equipment on hand," said Tulare County Fire's Joe Rosa. "Obviously, everybody that lives around this golf course was affected by the failure of the riverbank, so everybody's going to have a different level depending on exactly where there home was in relation to the levee break."

The water levels have dropped, and crews have scaled back their work.

As soon as they are finished, officials say residents will be allowed to return to their homes.

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