Chipley- The July and August floods caused millions off dollars in damages in Washington County. Roads got the worst of it, but there were other causalities.
Flood waters surround the Blue Lake Community Bldg on Highway 77 in Chipley. (Photo Courtesy: Jo Ann Elenburg)
"Situation is, water from the lake came up and flooded the [Blue Lake Community] building," Washington County Commission Chairman, Alan T. Bush told us. "Blue Lake is a closed basin which basically means, there's not an outlet for the water. It's only outlet is to cross State Road 77."
And last month, it did exactly that.
"Before it could over-top the roadway and the water escape, it flooded the building. When the building was built, the building should have been built at an elevation higher than the lowest part of the roadway to keep it from flooding.
While investigating the damages, county building department officials admitted they had never seen an elevation certificate for the decade old building, and it was not covered by flood insurance. But, those were the only issues.
"There's two septic tanks and also a lift station that went underwater and stayed submerged for quite a bit of time" Bush explained.
Health department officials were checking for sewage leaks, and posted swimming advisories around the basin.
Bush said county commissioners were trying to decide what to do next.
"Is the building salvageable" he asked. "Can you remove the sheet rock and the flooring materials and replace the insulation and the damage that's occurred to the ac systems and the duct work? What's feasible and what's not?
The community building has been a pretty popular spot in its time. In fact, before the flooding, residents had it pre-booked one year in advance. Bush said those events would have to be relocated.