You may have noticed that the 4th Tuesday of each month Arctic Sun LLC will be having lectures out at the Blue Loon (2999 Parks Hwy.) from 6:30-8PM. Tonight’s was interesting: Affordable Energy Now, Options, Economics, Financing. If you’d like to check this outfit out ahead of time, you can go to Arctic Sun’s website for more information. One of the most impressive pieces was a GIS map of all homes in a part of Cambridge Mass. where from aerial photo they can tinker with various surroundings (like cut particular trees down) and then the difference it would make in KW potential…. Anyway, be sure to check out the next session in a month!
WHAT AN ARTICLE! If you missed the human interest story about the flood recovery in Galena as posted in the Anchorage Daily News Saturday, you should read it: http://www.adn.com/2013/06/15/2941511/galena-counts-its-losses-from.html
It was quite a sight as our University related team assessing Galena was driven through the village late last week to assess the housing situation (and deliver workshops on how to safely re-enter homes). We were picked up at the old Air Force base (Nation’s lead in Soviet intercepts during the Cold War I’m told) which sits in a bowl with dirt roads on top of a dike as the rim. During the flooding, water started to come into the bowl yet our driver said the guys who stayed behind located and commandeered some heavy equipment and ‘got ‘er done’ – which basically saved the base and thus the future incident command center where relief efforts are now coordinated out of, the airstrip, electrical plant, mess hall for workers and on-base housing . No one perished (with very few dog casualties), yet 90% homes got hit. One thing that impressed me while walking in and out of a house carrying wet insulation was the very fine, dry dust covering everything-almost like the aftermath coating of a light volcano had let off; it even made a high water mark on the small spruce trees with needles so high looking gray/brown, and those above that mark looking freshly green. Days start to get shorter in less than a week, and school starts in about 2 months- and there will still visible gray and light brown ice chunks along different parts of the road. From what I saw on the ground and have been keeping up on with Facebook related sites, everyone’s mind is on getting cleaned up, getting fresh materials in and home up by freeze up.
With 130 homes damaged to some extent, Galena residents are returning home. Many have had to wait for sewage and chemical spills to be assessed by HazMat certified folks. There is a plan for Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Alaska Center for Energy and Power as well as Alaska Craftsman Home Program to accompany myself to Galena to canvas conditions as well as put on workshops on Returning to Your Home and Radon. Stay tuned on the Facebook pages Yukon River Rescue and Galena Flood Relief to get specific times and locations….
Residents have been returning to Galena the last several days- some to find their houses soaked while others not being able to locate their home. With many agencies focusing on financial and subsistence problems, CES is looking to immediately educate residents on how to re-enter their homes and begin the drying out process before building materials become ruined or mold covered. A great YouTube which has been a part of our workshop for Galena residents in Fairbanks (waiting to get back to the village) is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUv8hnd_1g0 . This video gives good tips that help to keep a returning homeowner safe and show the difference between a home that is mold ridden and one that is on its way to becoming healthy again. If you have any home reparation tips for those that have been in a flood feel free to let us know in the comment string for sharing ideas!
There will be a new landscape for those going home to Galena after the flood. Though the flood waters are gone, large brown/gray pieces set in the middle of river ice boulders are chunks of river ice are still hanging out in the streets of Galena despite upwards of degree days over this past weekend. Wood piles will have been scattered all over, people’s decks on others’ properties, and some lots missing houses. Yet for those finding their homes intact on the property they left, opening the front door (if they can get it free of a swollen or jilted door jam) may be a shock at how the waters have altered their home…. Come to the (free) RETURNING HOME AFTER THE FLOOD class/discussion TODAY for Galena residents (and anyone else who is interested with flooding home recovery) at 2:30pm: at Willow House in Fairbanks (1521 South Cushman) in room 220- second floor and all the way down the hall to the right (where meal room is). For more information call Art Nash from CES at 474-6366 or Racheal Lee from TCC Environmental Health at 452-8251.
We have recently seen flooding on the mighty Yukon in Eagle, Circle and Galena, and of course community buildings, homes, and log buildings have been moved off foundation and/or submerged under water. Here’s some ideas about supplies for returning to your community after a river flood (which we have had a few this Spring from ice jamming up):
Locate common household BLEACH- not only for cleaning, and mix bleach 1:3 to water for mold cleaning. Also run bleach down your well if you have one; note that there is a way to make the proper mix, work it in gradually and stopping by smell. Also, N95 rated masks and rubber gloves of course are needful for household clean up.
For VEHICLES, if the underbelly/engine was submerged with water you will want to take new bearings (due to silt) for each wheel. Also take bearing grease and oil and tranny and brake and steering and differential fluids to change out. If you had typical wet cell 12 volt BATTERIES in your car/4 wheeler/snow machine, they are vented and you will want to check before winter to see if they took on water- if so you may want to bring new ones and for the 30% more cost I’d swap out to the new AGM technology as it’s reduction in cold weather is only ~10% that of typical wet cells . For various PUMPS and appliances that can run on 12 volt batteries before electricity is fully functional (or as backup), I would talk to a vendor as there are several 12 volt (run off car battery) fuel, glycol and water transfer pumps-BUT realize that the inline pumps that state “for FUEL” are for DIESEL and NOT GAS due to flash point dangers. Such pumps to my knowledge will not separate fuel from water but can be used for transfer. An air compressor is also a good investment- to blow off dry caked silt off coils and fins on air cooled appliance motors.