Mountains of debris from dead trees and housing materials line the streets in Beavercreek neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the May 27 EF 3 tornado.
Demolition of homes that sustained heavy damages from the storm started on Rosehill Drive late this week. While most restaurants and food-related businesses affected by the storm have reopened, some remain closed because of extensive damages.
Workers with the Greene County building and health departments have been assessing damages and working with property owners to establish what needs to be fixed before businesses can reopen, and whether rural residential water sources are safe to drink.
A construction crew from Mason is putting in 12-hour days to help the recovery efforts.
“It starts wearing on you, after four, five, six days,” said Ed Smith, city of Mason utility manager. “It does seem like we’re not getting anywhere.”
From the day after the storm until June 2, Greene County sanitary employees completed 190 environmental health assessments at food-related businesses, mostly around North Fairfield Road, according to Rick Schairbaum, general services manager.
Health workers also assessed 14 wells to ensure water was not contaminated following the boil advisory.
Schairbaum said the workload has been “pretty intense,” especially after power was restored and businesses started calling in to request inspections.
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“Things have slowed down since from the food standpoint,” he said. “I was very happy and proud of our staff. Everybody came together and worked great as a team. We went out there and did what we needed to do.”
Most restaurants and food-related businesses have reopened. Those that remain closed because of extensive damages include Aldi’s, Primanti Bros and Jett’s Pizza.
Mark Isaacson, county health program manager for special services, said the debris from trees and shrubs is being trucked on a continual basis to the county recycling center, where it is ground into mulch that will be offered to county residents free of charge.
Workers are monitoring the loads that are being hauled in to make sure solid waste, such as food products and ruined furniture, is not mixed in with yard debris, and that construction debris is separated as well.
As debris continues to be hauled away from neighborhoods around Grange Hall Road, health department workers await the rebuilding process, which will involve more inspections and issuing permits.
“We will be busier when people can start doing construction,” Isaacson said.
For Joyce Thommen of Beavercreek, the storm’s’ aftermath has been good and bad.
“It’s been good because you see the good side of people but then it’s been bad because I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” Thommen said.
Thommen said more than 100 volunteers have pitched in to clean up her property, adding there is still so much work to do, and homeowners will continue needing help for a long time.
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