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Contractors at work repairing damage from last week's record flood in Midland County

Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Contractors are busy repairing damage from last week’s record flood in Midland County.

Many are also victims of the flood themselves.

Tony Geiger says the flood put his Sanford plumbing business under ten feet of water.

“Got to totally demo it out. Demo-ing the warehouse out. Trying to get stuff cleaned out and put on shelves so we can get back to work,” says Geiger. “I got about half my crews out today on paying jobs. So that’s a plus.”

For now, Geiger is running his plumbing business out of a borrowed office and working to replace inventory destroyed by the flood. 

Jimmy Greene is the CEO of the Midland Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. He says many Midland County contractors are working on people’s homes, even though their own homes were also flooded.

“These folks don’t just have a professional place that was in tatters,” says Greene. “We have a lot of them whose personal homes were destroyed as well. It’s just been god-awful.”

Greene says 2020 was already a challenging year for builders, plumbers and other skilled trade businesses. The COVID-19 stay-at-home order hit just at the time many would normally see their businesses picking up at the end of winter. Many were just starting to ramp up after the governor lifted restrictions on construction a couple weeks before the flood.

Greene expects a chronic shortage of skilled workers and pandemic-disrupted supply chains may affect the pace of repair work tied to the flood.

Contractors say they can repair some flood damage this week, but other jobs could take a year.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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