Last Updated: 4:33 p.m.
Flagler County and its cities were grinding back to a sense of normalcy Tuesday, four days past Hurricane Matthew’s offshore sweep of the area, with the last emblem of direst danger lifted Tuesday afternoon: there will be no curfew in Flagler Beach tonight, as power has been restored to the island and all travel restrictions were lifted.
But county and cities were also reckoning with the damage: $72.8 million-worth to homes and businesses alone, the county estimated today.
The price tag is very likely to exceed $100 million when damage to government infrastructure, including roads, parks, water plants, schools and beaches, including the Flagler Beach pier, are included. On Monday, U.S. REp. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said early estimates of repairing State Road A1A and its adjoining beaches, which have been cleaved by the storm, run up to $35 million.
Meanwhile, as of 1 p.m., 1,130 customers remained without power in Flagler County, but that was less than 2 percent of customers. Florida Power and Light was sticking close to its revised pledge of restoring power to most by today.
The county’s estimate of damages includes all the cities. It breaks down this way, according to a release issued by the county in early afternoon:
Unincorporated Flagler County suffered $49,659,830 in estimated total damages, $48,033,938 of it in residential damages. That includes 462 affected single-family homes, 242 with minor damage, 159 with major damage, and six that were destroyed.
Flagler Beach had total estimated total damages of $15,178,829, of which $13,166,109 is to homes. Five homes were destroyed, another five suffered major damage, 27 minor damage and 558 affected residential homes were affected.
One restaurant suffered major damage, one with minor damage and another five were affected. Damage to restaurants is estimated to be $426,402 and hotels suffered another $414,302 in damages.
Total estimated damages in Beverly Beach are estimated to be $4,001,517. Marineland suffered an estimated $135,515 in damages.
Palm Coast’s and Bunnell’s total damages were relatively minor, in comparison: $3,585,412. Total damages in Bunnell are estimated at $259,014.
Palm Coast specified its losses: 215 single-family houses had some minor or peripheral damage (they call it “affected” structures), seven multi-family houses did so, and three commercial buildings had peripheral damage.
The damage is limited, but the inconveniences are widespread because of power and septic issues, particularly in Palm Coast, where the local version of septic tanks, known as the PEP system, or Pretreatment Effluent Pumping, has kept city crews extremely busy for days.
PEP tanks amass a house’s effluent, which is then pumped off through sewer lines to a lift station. But the pumping and lift-station system depend on electricity. When the electricity fails, residents can still flush the toilet and take showers and so on, but only up to a point, because the PEP tank will fill up. Once that happens, it can back up into the house, causing a problem.
That’s been happening in numerous houses across the city. City crews, including cross-trained firefighters, code enforcement officers and building officials, have been fanning out with portable generators to those houses in crisis, hooking up the generators to the house’s PEP system, and pumping out the effluent. Also, in other cases, city tankers have been going down affected streets and pumping out PREP tanks.
“It was a pretty dire situation yesterday morning,” Cindi Lane, a city spokesperson, said. It all depends on electric power. “As it comes on, the system is starting to work again. If that happens, it’s going to exponentially decrease the need for these field operations.”
This morning FPL officials told tiy officials that they expected power to be restored to the B, L, LL, S, and Z sections by noon, and power to be restored by 6 p.m. to the W, P, R, and E sections.
Drinking water has not been an issue in Palm Coast, however: even though all its water plants lost power, back-up generators kicked in and functioned well. So that part of the utility system was not affected.
Lane was expecting an update on the wastewater situation from Utility Director Richard Adams around 4 p.m.
County government waived hurricane-related repair permitting fees through December 5.
Special exceptions will be made for the next 60 days in the following areas:
· Roofing (one) 1 square of shingles – 10 feet by 10 feet or less – no permit or plan review required
· Soffit and gutters – no permit required
· Fence repair or replacement – no permit required if the previous one was issued between 2006 and 2016
· Electrical repairs – permit required, but a plan review is not required
· A/C change-out – permit still required
· Aluminum – permits still are required.
Contractors must be registered with Contractor Licensing to work in Flagler County. Proof of License and Liability Insurance is required.
Residents and business owners who have questions about either permits or inspections should call the Flagler County Building Department at 386-313-4002.
Flagler County Continues to operate a call center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 386-586-5111.
The Red Cross has established a Hurricane Matthew hotline at 800-768-8048 to provide information about the resources available in every county.
As far as drinking water is concerned for the rest of the county is concerned, boil-water advisories are in effect for two regions: Daytona North, where most people are on private wells, and Plantation Bay, where a contractor broke a valve at the water plant, causing water pressure to drop.
The county will issue a Code Red informing residents in Daytona North (also known as the Mondex) of the boil-water advisory. Residents are invited to have their water tested for free at the Flagler County Health Department, where they may take a container of their water for testing during regular business hours.
[This is a developing story. More soon.]