Sen. Dave Schatz’s Weekly Column for Jan. 14

Just a few weeks ago, residents across the 26th Senatorial District experienced unprecedented flooding. Many reports show the flooding, in some places, was worse than the infamous Great Flood of 1993. The most recent flooding crippled transportation across much of the area, and state. Many local residents were displaced as they watched their homes and businesses flood just days before the Christmas holiday.

Official reports show the flood waters reached historic levels. The Mississippi River crested at more than 13 feet above flood stage, and the Meramec River crested at more than 20 feet above flood stage. Across our area, and the state, levees failed and as many as 14 Missourians died. Just days after the flooding began, the governor declared a state of emergency and by Dec. 29, he had activated the Missouri National Guard to assist residents in evacuating.  Once the waters receded, the Guard also helped, and continues to help, with cleanup.Operation Recoverya flood cleanup program was launched at the beginning of January and followed the governor signing an executive order to help speed up debris removal.

 Though the waters have receded much cleanup remains. Please keep safety in mind as you work to remove debris and strive to return to a normal way of life.

Residents are asked to follow these guidelines:

  • Continue to separate debris into different piles at the curbside or right-of-way: construction and demolition debris; household hazardous waste; appliances/white goods; electronics; and vegetative debris.
  • Do not let debris create a traffic hazard by allowing it to lay in the streets.
  • Vegetative debris should be cut up in lengths of 10 feet or less and piled in one grouping. Limbs and branches do not need to be tied into bundles.
  • Keep debris loose, and please do not place in plastic bags. They will not be picked up.
  • Do not block utilities, fire hydrants, mail boxes, manhole covers, etc.
  • Those in need of assistance getting debris to the curbside should call 2-1-1 for assistance. 2-1-1 can also provide information on disaster-related volunteer opportunities and relief efforts.
  • Place debris at the edge of the property if your home does not have a sidewalk, or ditch along the street.
  • Keep in mind residents do not have to be present when crews remove flood-damaged items.
  • If you come across containers with unidentified substances, report them to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for removal.

Debris removal crews will continue to work every day in affected counties/areas during daylight hours. The crews will work to notify communities of the areas where they will be working in advance. However, it may be difficult to notify all areas. Crews will work until cleanup is complete.

For the most up-to-date information about cleanup visit

Rebuilding or replacing lost or damaged items can be one of the hardest parts of recovery after a natural disaster, especially if your home is under-insured or not insured at all. Claims can become especially hard to sort out for anyone who rents and did not have renter’s insurance. Usually, homeowners insurance does not offer coverage for flood losses. Those with flood damage should contact their insurance company to file a claim within 60 days. Anyone who has questions or concerns about their coverage can also contact the Missouri Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.