Felton Grove residents bracing for major mud cleanup after this week's rainstorms

Residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains held a community meeting Monday night to discuss emergency response plans for this week's storms.  

People in the Felton Grove community gathered so they could talk about what to do before and after Wednesday’s storm. Not everyone here has lived through this before, so they want to get out as much information as possible.   

"We live in the flood way along the San Lorenzo. This is an historic problem," said Liz Taylor-Selling, Felton Grove Disaster Planning Committee Chair. 

Dozens of people gathered at Mountain Community Resources Center in Felton Monday night to discuss a response to the heavy rainstorms headed to the Bay Area this week. Those who've lived in the area for decades say flooding and mud piles are their main concerns and planning is key to keeping people safe.     

"People will survive best if they can be tolerant, make sure they have a clean pathway to walk from the roads to their car. Know that this is going to be uncomfortable, and it takes a while to recover," Taylor-Selling said.    

Earlier Monday, one family said they’ve been living in Felton Grove for 15 years and last weekend’s storm came faster than they thought it would. Now they’re bracing for Wednesday’s storm and trying to clean up some of the mud from their property.   

"It’s just going to do it all over again. It’s just going to track another foot of mud into the house and water up to our hips. We’ll just evacuate again. Get the bunnies out, get us out and we’re good," said Megan Alisago, a Felton Grove resident. 

Mud left behind after floodwaters recede is also a major concern for the Felton Grove Road Association. The roads can be heavily damaged after a storm and the group helps to coordinate getting mud removed from the roads as soon as possible.    

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"The reason we’re so concerned about is that it’s actually toxic waste. It’s hazardous. So there are septic systems and all of us in the neighborhood are on septic. Most everybody up the Valley is on septic. We know they’re leaking and they’re particularly leaky when it floods," said Melissa Foley, Felton Grove Road Association President.       

Foley says people in Felton Grove should wear gloves, wear a mask and be sure not to touch their face to protect themselves when trying to remove toxic mud.    

Santa Cruz County Sheriffs and the Felton Fire District say they expect this storm to move in much faster than the last one. So, when they ask people to evacuate, they should do so as soon as possible.