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Snyder declares emergency for Marquette County to assist communities with water, sewer line damage

Thursday, April 17, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today declared a “state of emergency” for Marquette County communities responding to widespread, severe damage to water and sewer lines caused by this winter’s extremely cold temperatures and deep frost levels.

“This record-breaking winter has severely crippled the water and sewer infrastructure of Marquette County,” Snyder said. “I admire the public works personnel who have been working around the clock thawing and repairing water and sewer mains. They are the heroes in this situation. We will use all state resources available so Marquette County communities can respond and recover from this crisis.”

By declaring a “state of emergency,” the state of Michigan will make available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts. Snyder's declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts.

Marquette County communities have been coping with frozen water and sewer mains throughout the winter. The deep frost levels have caused widespread and severe damage and failure of water and sewer systems, fire hydrants and public roads, compromising public health and safety due to delayed fire suppression and emergency vehicle response and reduced capacity the to treat wastewater.

“I have directed my staff to work closely with Marquette County emergency management officials to ensure all communities can respond and recover from this incident,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director of emergency management and homeland security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “As temperatures warm and the ground thaws, we expect this situation to worsen before it gets better.”

The county previously requested a governor’s declaration on March 4. At that time, damage estimates were around $400,000 and resources had not been fully exhausted by local communities as required by state law and requisite parameters. On April 2, Marquette County submitted a second request outlining severe public health and safety concerns and more than $1.6 million in damages.

Since Feb. 21, Marquette County has been under “local state of emergency,” which activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect public health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.

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