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Pigeon Lake neighbors plagued by flooding request help from Senator Bewley

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DRUMMOND, WI — Last June, 18 inches of rain drowned the town of Drummond, and residents say things have only gotten worse since with nowhere for that water to go.

CBS 3 Duluth met with 84-year-old Pigeon Lake resident John Olstad last week, who says he has been unable to live in his home for the past 10 months due to the flooding.

Many of Olstad’s neighbors are experiencing much of the same, like 89-year-old Gwen Samp, who is all on her own.

“It’s hard to be alone and take care of all this, but I want to stay in this house because it has memories in it,” Samp said. “I often sit here and just cry, but I try to do … whatever I can do because I’m a fighter.”

Since last week, Pigeon Lake has risen eight more inches.

Officials say there’s no streams flowing in or out of it, so the water, essentially, is trapped there.

Pigeon Lake Association President Trish Bantle says she’s been doing all she can to find a solution, including recently reaching out to Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley for help.

“I’ve written so many letters and so many inquiries, I can’t even. I’m kind of overwhelmed with it all,” Bantle said. “It’s kind of like an octopus with their arms out just saying, ‘help! Help! Help!’ And I can’t really remember who all I’ve asked for help.”

Senator Bewley says concrete plans to find a solution are in the works.

The DNR is expected to pay for it, and build a culvert sometime within the next month, which Senator Bewley says could help protect the roads and bring down the water level.

“Water goes in, but it doesn’t go out,” Senator Bewley said. “There’s no outlet for the water, so it just floods. It overflows like a bowl, so what you try you try to have ways like culverts to drain that water off.”

Senator Bewley says the state government doesn’t provide things like flood or home insurance, so she hopes to come up with a way to offer flood insurance for those who live on properties that could flood, but aren’t necessarily in a flood plain.

Gamiel Hall

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