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Commissioners declare Kitsap a disaster area

In response to flooding caused by heavy rains, the Kitsap County commissioners on Monday declared the county a disaster area. While this begins a process that can lead up to the presidential level, the first result is the availability of free sandbags at six county locations.

Director of Emergency Management Phyllis Mann said the action was in response to damage reports from throughout the county.

“Everywhere we turn, we have people with flood problems and high waters,” Mann said.

The declaration, signed by Commissioners Jan Angel and Patty Lent (Chris Endresen is out of the country), states that local emergency departments can enter into contracts and receive reimbursement for these contracts.

Mann said she hopes Gov. Christine Gregoire will sign a declaration, which will then lead to one enacted by President George W. Bush.

This will release aid funding from FEMA and other government agencies for both individuals and businesses.

“We want President Bush to declare Kitsap County a disaster area,” Mann said.

Despite sunny skies later on Monday, Mann said the area should anticipate continued heavy rain, and she expects the county will make full use of all disaster relief.

Five hundred sandbags became available on Tuesday morning at each of the following locations: Island Lake Community Center, Central Kitsap Fire Station 41, South Kitsap Fire Station 31, North Kitsap Fire Headquarters, Poulsbo Fire at Poulsbo Public Works and Bremerton Public Works.

There was no Bainbridge Island location designated as of Monday afternoon.

For more information, or updates, call (360) 307-5870 or log on to www.kitsapdem.org.

Additionally, the Kitsap County Health District reported flood-related sewer overflows into Port Washington Narrows and Sinclair Inlet with a discharge of approximately 966,600 gallons of mixed stormwater and untreated sewage.

In response, the Health District has issued a seven-day no-contact advisory for all of Port Washington Narrows, Sinclair Inlet, and Dyes Inlet.

The public is advised to avoid contact with marine water in these areas until Feb. 6.

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