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Still Waiting On Water: Dozens in Lebanon Still Lack Utilities

Jason Nott, a Superintendent of Notts Excavation adds cleaner to a temporary water main to supply water to residents of Slayton Hill for the next several months at the bottom of Slayton Hill Road in Lebanon, N.H., on July 4, 2013. After the cleaner runs through the system overnight, the water main will be refilled with clean water and be available for residents possibly by Saturday morning, Nott said. 

Valley News - Sarah Priestap

Jason Nott, a Superintendent of Notts Excavation adds cleaner to a temporary water main to supply water to residents of Slayton Hill for the next several months at the bottom of Slayton Hill Road in Lebanon, N.H., on July 4, 2013. After the cleaner runs through the system overnight, the water main will be refilled with clean water and be available for residents possibly by Saturday morning, Nott said. Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

Lebanon — Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos gave most of his department the day off to rest and recuperate on Independence Day after what had been a long week of flood recovery in the city.

But clean-up efforts are scheduled to start back up in full force today, with public works crews from Hanover, Lebanon, Enfield and Hartford fanning out to repair and clean the more than 60 roads throughout Lebanon.

And Upper Valley Strong, the charitable organization born out of Tropical Storm Irene, will be moving mud and stone right beside them.

The volunteers are gathering today to begin cleaning out Rivermere, the flood-damaged affordable housing complex near Slayton Hill Road.

The organization’s chairwoman, Anne Duncan Cooley, said those looking to volunteer should visit the Upper Valley Strong website, uvstrong.org, where they can submit their contact information and skills. They can also call the organization at 603-448-8810.

Cooley said Upper Valley Strong has been responding quickly to volunteer requests.

“We could use more help for sure,” she said. “It’s a tough time to try to recruit help because people have plans.”

Collaborating with Twin Pines Housing Trust, the organization that developed Rivermere, and other organizations like Granite United Way and The Haven in White River, have helped to widen their relief efforts.

“During Irene, we became a clearinghouse for all sorts of things,” said Jennifer Fontaine, director of community services and operations at The Haven. “We’re willing to do that again.”

Fontaine said community members hoping to donate household items, like clothes, furniture, toys or kitchen supplies, could call The Haven. For monetary donations, donors should contact Twin Pines Housing Trust.

“We’re making sure that the surrounding communities are OK as well,” Fontaine said. “As Upper Valley Strong, we’re trying to make sure the whole community is being served.”

Dulac Street, the pathway to the Rivermere complex, is blocked by at least a six-foot-tall wall of mud, debris and rock that traveled down Slayton Hill Road during Tuesday’s downpour. A small pathway has been cleared for authorized vehicles only, but Christopoulos said yesterday the devastation to the road will take months to repair.

“It’s basically a reconstruction, not a repair,” he said yesterday.

Jason Nott, the superintendent for Nott’s Excavating of White River Junction, and his crew worked on the holiday yesterday to lay an above ground temporary waterline along Slayton Hill Road, connecting it to a water main at the top of the hill that wasn’t damaged by Tuesday’s flood waters.

Nott said that before the water is safe, he and his crew will have to flush it through the 2,000 feet of blue piping and then chlorinate it.

Bob and Betty Bonneau had ventured to Lebanon yesterday from Canaan for the music at Colburn Park and the memories on Slayton Hill Road. Though they moved 10 years ago, for 20 years before that the Bonneaus lived in the home on the hill at the intersection of Dulac Street and Slayton Hill Road. This week’s storms washed out the driveway and carried a mound of mud and debris into the yard.

The couple was watching the news when they saw a familiar scene flash across screen.

“I said wait a minute, that’s our old house!” Bob Bonneau said.

The severe flooding didn’t shock him, though.

“There was always water in that driveway,” he said.

They drove down to their former home yesterday afternoon, where Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos sat on an ATV, assessing damage and directing curious onlookers away from the washed out Slayton Hill Road.

Lebanon fire department officials delivered bottle water to affected Slayton Hill residents yesterday, and a news release from the Lebanon fire department said that Public Works officials hope water will be restored by tomorrow. About a dozen Liberty Utilities customers in the area are still without power, but city emergency management officials are scheduled to meet with the company today to develop a restoration plan.

Across town on Meriden Road, the power had been restored but the water was still out.

Nine years ago heavy rains flooded the Lopez family’s yard and mint green home on Meriden Road.

Earlier this week, it happened again.

“We are expecting this again, nine more years from now,” Enrique Lopez said with a laugh yesterday afternoon, as the sun beat down on him and his wife, Eulalia, and daughter, Maya.

The Lopez residence is just one of fifteen along flood-ravaged Meriden Road that’s been without running water since Wednesday morning.

A water main in the area broke, according to the news release, during the two-day string of storms and rain that at one point dropped nearly two inches of water on Lebanon in 45 minutes.

As public works officials repaired the damaged road and water main yesterday, fire department personnel also delivered cases of bottled water to the 15 affected homes. Attached was a piece of paper with storm recovery information.

After their home flooded nine years ago, the Lopezes installed a drainage system in the yard. However, Maya Lopez said the run-off from this week’s batch of storms seeped into their home during the couple hours when the power — and their sump pump — wasn’t working.

The Lopez’s said they were thankful for the bottled water. Before yesterday afternoon, they had been collecting the rain runoff that was pooling in their yard and boiling the water to use for bathing and flushing the toilet.

According to the news release, water service and full access to Meriden Road should be restored by tomorrow.

Katie Mettler can be reached at kmettler@vnews.com or 603-727-3234.

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