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Mid-Michigan Flooding: Some homeowners still without phone, internet, clean water

Midland Co. homeowner opens up regarding two-month-long struggle
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 11:57 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) (07/09/2020)- “It does seriously feel like we’re just trapped.”

Mike Richmond struggles to put feelings of isolation into words. He lives in rural Midland County near the epicenter of the May flooding that inundated much of Mid-Michigan.

“We can deal with it, but when you add it all together, it does feel like a third world [country],” related Richmond. “Then you add the COVID on top of it.”

Phone and internet service to Mike’s Edenville neighborhood went dead with the rising water. A critical lifeline to the outside world for his mother, who has dementia.

“She’s elderly,” explained Richmond. “She really needs a phone line. We go into town, something happens to mom, how does she get ahold of me?”

After more than a month in the proverbial dark, Mike is still getting billed, worrying restoration times are moving goalposts and that he may be getting the runaround. ABC 12 got his provider, CenturyLink on the phone. The company was unable to provide any specific information on the cause of the outage or an ETA on repairs.

“Folks are quite anxious to have an idea of what may be available.”

State and federal emergency officials touched on short-term recovery plans during a Wednesday webinar. Gladwin County Emergency Manager Robert North, addressing one of their biggest hurdles: flood stricken communities that ironically now have only spotty access to clean water.

“Our numbers on June 1st… we had 115 wells with issues,” explained North. “Here it is, the eighth of July and we are at 315 and we don’t see that leveling off.”

To the South in Edenville, Mike and his decade old well are grappling with their own water worries. Mike reached out to a private contractor who told him he could take a look in August. In the meantime, he’s had to resort to filling a tank out back with city water.

Right now, Mike just wants answers.

“Everybody hopes that a bridge can be fixed and the road can be fixed and the telephone lines can be fixed,” related Richmond. “It’s the people, the community. You’ve got to help the community.”

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