Burlington Flood of 2017

Press Releases

View press releases here

August 15, 2017:

Governor Walker Requests SBA Disaster Declaration After July Floods in Southeast Wisconsin (PDF)

August 18, 2017

Press Release from SBA Offering Disaster Assistance to Wisconsin Businesses and Residents Affected By Flash Floods and Flooding (PDF)


Financial Assistance

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Wisconsin Businesses and Residents Affected By Flash Floods & Flooding
Outreach center open August 22 to 31

Governor Walker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) had approved his request for federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding in southeastern Wisconsin last month. The SBA will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOC) to help flood victims and businesses obtain information and apply for assistance. The DLOC in Racine County will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 22nd and will be located at:

Western Racine County Service Center (Eppers Room)
209 N Main St., Burlington, WI 53105

Opening: Tuesday, August 22 at 10 a.m.
Hours: Weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Closed Sunday, August 27
Closing: Thursday, August 31 at 2:30 p.m.

Businesses and individuals may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. They may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster.

SBA Loan Fact Sheet and Required Documents (PDF)

Flood Relief from the Burlington Community Fund

Area residents may apply for grants up to $10,000

Thanks to funds from an anonymous donor, the Wagner Foundation and the Burlington Community Fund is offering grants of up to $10,000 per household to help relieve the financial hardships caused by the natural disaster.

If you live in the greater Burlington area and have experienced losses due to the flood of July 2017, please download the grant application by clicking on the link below and return it the Burlington Community Fund, P.O. Box 546, Burlington, WI 53105, by August 8 (must be postmarked by August 8 to limit one application per household). If you prefer, you may attend the Flood Relief Grant-Processing event at Veterans Terrace, 589 Milwaukee Avenue, on Saturday, August 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Additional information is available at www.burlingtoncommunityfund.com

Anybody who would still like to donate to the flood relief effort may send checks payable to BCF Flood Relief Fund, P.O. Box 546, Burlington, WI 53105. Contributions to the fund may also be made in person at Fox River State Bank or online at www.burlingtoncommunityfund.com

USDA's Direct Home Loan Program

USDA Rural Development has funding available for very low and low-income individuals and families seeking to purchase or repair a home in a rural area. USDA Rural Development's Rural Housing Programs offer a broad range of home ownership assistance available to individuals and families who wish to, or currently, live in rural areas, cities and communities. The Rural Housing Program area of USDA Rural Development has the ultimate goal of providing affordable home ownership opportunities to Wisconsin residents.

USDA's Direct Home Loan Program offers financing to qualified very-low and low income applicants that are unable to qualify for traditional financing. No down payment is required and the interest rate could be as low as one percent with a subsidy. Applicants must meet income and credit guidelines and demonstrate repayment ability. The program is available in rural communities of 20,000 people or less. The maximum loan amount for repair is $20,000 at a one percent interest rate, repayable for up to 20 years. Grants of up to $7,500 are available to homeowners 62 and older and must be used to remove health or safety hazards, such as fixing a leaking roof, installing indoor plumbing or replacing a furnace.

Portions of all counties in Wisconsin are eligible for Rural Development programs with the exception of Milwaukee County. Visit https://eligibility/sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do to determine if you are within the established income limit based on household size and county and if the home you wish to purchase or repair is located within an eligible area.

For further information on USDA Rural Development programs, call 715-345-7611 or visit their website at www.rd.usda.gov/wi.


Cash donations only at any BMO Harris Bank, Community State Bank, Town Bank or North Shore Bank under "Burlington Flood Relief Account." Funds will be distributed in the future through a special committee to flood victims.


Echo Lake Dam Update

August 25, 2017

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has given the City permission to close the gates on the Echo Lake dam and partially fill the lake in order to help eliminate the smell that is being emitted from the lake. The DNR will not allow the city to fill the lake to capacity until the repair work is completed. As a reminder, the City must replace the stop log, install signage, and patch the concrete on the spillway.

August 22, 2017

On July 13, the City was mandated to open the gates on the Echo Lake dam due to the rapidly rising flood waters and the increasing pressure to the dam. In order to close the dam, the City needed to conduct a structural and damage assessment following the flood.

On August 22, 2017, the City received the final report from the Ayres Associates. Pursuant to the recommendations, the City must replace the stop log, install signage, and patch the concrete on the spillway. The City has working with the contractor who is designing and building the stop log, as well as identifying contractors that will be able to repair the concrete on the spillway.

As staff continues to complete due diligence, we will continue to update you through the city website at Burlington-wi.gov and the city Facebook page. Our goal is to fill the lake as quickly as possible and allow the Council to indentify the dam's long term plan.


Building Repair

As homeowners begin the process of flood remediation and repair, it is required that a building permit is submitted for work such as electrical, gas, furnace, air conditioning, plumbing, demolition, and structural work. Please keep in mind this list is not all-inclusive.

The City has offered to waive all permit fees for flood victims who are repairing damage to their homes as a result of the flood. You may complete the building permit form electronically and submit it to: gguidry@burlington-wi.gov. The building permit can be found on the City's website under the Building Inspector page . In order to qualify for this waiver, you must list the project type AND "Flood repair" in the Project Description section at the top of the application.

As you begin the process of hiring contractors to remediation the damage to your home, please read these important tips on contractor fraud to protect yourself: Tips on Avoiding Contractor Fraud


General Information


The City of Burlington experienced a massive flood that affected most of the municipality and surrounding communities. The Fox River crested the morning of July 13 at its highest historical level of 16.15 feet and began to slowly recede. The level of the river dipped below major flood stage to 13.08 feet on Saturday, July 15.

Echo Lake Dam

Echo Lake Dam was opened approximately 1.5 inches at 11 a.m. Friday, July 14. The dam gates were completely open by end of day Wednesday, July 19. The Department of Natural Resources Dam Inspection crew conduct checks to monitor this process and the condition of the dam. This action was ordered to relieve pressure on the structural concrete and the earth embankments. The opening of the dam will draw down Echo Lake. The slow, incremental opening of the dam should keep the fluctuation of the water levels down river to a minimum. The draining of the lake will allow for a complete inspection of the dam, which will determine the safety of the dam and future improvements to the waterway.


We Energies completed repairs to the substation ahead of schedule with the assistance of over 50 employees.

Power was restored to the city as of Saturday, July 15.

Over 4400 residents of the City of Burlington and Waterford area were without power and telephone service for a few days. We Energies announced the Waterford area power was restored by noon July 13. The company worked diligently to restore power to the Burlington area, and completed part of the city on Friday, July 14 with the remaining Saturday, July 15.

Gas and Electric Service

As residents re-enter their homes, concerns regarding electric or gas utilities should be directed to We Energies at 800-242-9137. For additional information from We Energies about flood related concerns see the WeEnergies website.

National Guard

Over 80 members of the National Guard were deployed in the City of Burlington and assisted in emergency efforts, including monitoring traffic at the several streets and bridges that remain closed. The Guard and Racine County Human Services staff conducted health and well visits to the elderly, homebound, and vulnerable adults in the Burlington area. On July 15, the National Guard was released of duty in the city to enable them to assist other communities in need.




All roads and all bridges are open.


Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC)

A Multi-Agency Resource Center was held on Tuesday, July 18 in Burlington at the Burlington High School, 400 McCanna Parkway to provide an efficient method to deliver services to individuals and families affected by a disaster by bringing together multiple service providers in a single location and providing on-site assistance. This include replacement of government documents, replacement of benefits, and other relief services that may be offered by governmental or non-governmental agencies.

Disaster Recovery Services Available to Flood Victims


To access disaster recovery resources, contact the agencies listed below. In the event of a life-threating situation, call 911:

  • American Red Cross Emergency Response Line - 414-345-8678 (water, shelter and meals)
  • Central Racine County Health Department - www.crchd.com (health and safety information)
  • Impact 2-1-1 - http://www.referweb.net/ipct/Search.aspx (disaster services)
  • Wisconsin Kenosha Racine Partnership - 888-794-5820 (FoodShare/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Unemployment Insurance - http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/ (unemployment benefits for those who lost work due to floods and power outages)
  • Bureau of Consumer Protection (contractor fraud check) - 800-422-7128 or datcphotline@wisconsin.gov
  • Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (insurance inquiries) - 800-236-8517 or oci.wi.gov


Health & Wellness

Central Racine County Health Department advises that extreme caution should be taken with food and private well water. They shared the following food and well water safety tips:

Food Safety During a Power Outage

  • The biggest food safety concern is the condition of Potentially Hazardous Food (PHF) such as meats, eggs, milk, cooked vegetables, cut melons, cut tomatoes and cut leafy greens.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Add bags of ice or dry ice to the freezers and coolers.
  • When power is restored check the internal food temperatures. If above 41°F food should be discarded.
  • If there are any questions regarding the safety of specific foods, contact the Central Racine County Health Department.
  • When In Doubt, Throw It Out!

Well Water Safety

  • Private well owners with wells located in a flooded area should not consume the water without boiling it first.
  • After the flood waters have receded, wells should be chlorinated and then tested for contamination.
  • Whenever you notice a change in water quality, or anytime there's been flooding near your well, have your well tested for bacteria contamination. Until the test results are known, follow these procedures to ensure safe drinking water:
    • Drink bottled water or water from a known, safe source.
    • If necessary, you can make water safe to drink by boiling it for five minutes.
  • When in doubt, if the water is CLOUDY, ODOROUS, OR COLORED - DO not DRINK THE WATER!
  • Further information can be found on the CRCHD site
  • Free well water test kits available at the following locations:
    • Town of Waterford Town Hall
    • Town of Burlington Town Hall
    • Town of Yorkville Town Hall
    • Town of Dover Town Hall
    • Central Racine County Health Department
    • Burlington Wastewater Treatment Plant


Debris Removal & Mitigation

The City of Burlington arranged for special curb-side pick-up services with John's Disposal to assist residents in disposing of flood damaged items.

Special curb-side pick-up services began on Monday, July 17th and ran through Friday, July 28th. John's Disposal had multiple trucks conducting the special pick-up, as well as maintain regular service for all residents. Residents with flood damaged items may place items out daily. We asked residents with non-flood related large bulk items to hold off on disposal from July 17th to 28th to accommodate the special pickup from homes impacted by the flood.

Residents participating in this special pick-up service should have followed these preparation steps for the disposal of damaged items: Debris must be contained in cans or bags not exceeding 33-gallons in size and no heavier than 45 lbs. each. Debris may be bundled; however, cannot exceed 45 lbs. in weight and 4 feet in length and no wider than 2 feet in diameter. Carpeting must be rolled, taped, or tied. Carpet, after being rolled and tied, should be no longer than 4 feet in length and no wider than 2 feet in diameter and weigh no more than 45 lbs. each. Larger items such as damaged furniture may be placed at the curb adjacent to garbage/recycle containers Empty contents and remove refrigerator/freezer doors for safety purposes.

View FEMA Debris Removal Guidelines (PDF)

Sludge From Basements

Sludge from basements can be placed in cans for disposal and pick up by City crews. Cans must weigh less than 50 pounds in order be collected. Please call Public Works at 262-539-3646 to provide your address if you need a can pick up.

Department of Health Services Flood Toolkit


Damage Assessment

Assessment Teams were in the area on golf carts and will be initially assessing homes with visible damage around the flood damaged areas. Assessments of property damage were conducted to identify the assessment loss in the city in an effort to compile data to apply for local and state funding to potentially assist homeowners.


Sand bag Disposal

Johns Disposal will collect sandbags that are 40 pounds and under for residential properties. Please place the bags curbside where you would place your normal garbage. Commercial properties should call their contracted garbage collection company for disposal options.

Health and Safety Advisory:
Because of the possibility of contamination and the health and environmental risks they pose, sand from sandbags should never be used in sandboxes, playgrounds, or other areas where it will be on the ground surface or directly in contact with people.


City Hall & Police Station Open

The Police Station is now open, with 9-1-1 calls continuing to be diverted to the County Dispatch Center. City Hall is open with full service, including County services (County Treasurer, Register of Deeds and County Clerk). Email and phone lines are now operational for the Police Department, City Hall, Fire Department, Library, Public Works, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Please note, as the phone lines have been restored to these buildings, our multi-line phone system has not been fully restored. Callers may experience a busy signal on occasion during high volume times.

If you need assistance for City Services:

- Building Inspection: 262-342-1164

- City Hall (Administration and Finance): 262-342-1161

- Fire Department non-emergency: 262-763-7842

- Library: 262-342-1130

- Municipal Court: 262-342-1129

- Police Department non-emergency: 262-342-1100

- Public Works: 262-342-1181

- Wastewater Treatment Plant and Public Works: 262-539-3646

View the City staff directory here for email addresses

If you need assistance for County services please call:

  • County Clerk: 262-636-3121
  • County Treasurer: 262-636-3239
  • Register of Deeds: 262-636-3208

This web page will be updated as new information and/or resources become available.