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European edition, Sunday, September 2, 2007

RAF FAIRFORD, England — Base officials expect contractors to begin repairs and renovations early this month to buildings at this remote air base in Gloucestershire that were flooded after torrential rains in late July.

The heavy downpours left 10 base facilities and eight housing units with roughly $200,000 in water damages.

Remnants of water damage at the base’s hardest-hit facilities, the community center and operations building, have already been stripped away by base workers. However, any contract work for these facilities will have to come after work on the housing units is done, according to Maj. Steve Grace, commander of the 420th Civil Engineering Squadron.

“The family housing quarters are the priority. We are hoping to begin work early in September,” Grace wrote Thursday in an e-mail.

The eight housing units are estimated to have $40,000 in damages, mostly stemming from standing water that ruined carpet and walls. Grace said detailed cost estimates for the repairs were being determined.

Four households were forced out of their homes by the floods and later relocated to vacant housing units and on-base lodging.

“We’re taking care of our people. We’ve received adequate funding to make the repairs that we need to make,” housing manager Linda Freeman said last week.

There are plans to replace the ruined carpet in the units with vinyl composite tile.

“It’s more sanitary [and] flood-proof,” Freeman said.

The reason contractors had not been hired sooner is a high demand of repairers in the local area.

“They’re definitely busy. We’ll have to wait in the queue,” Grace said in an earlier telephone interview.

July’s flooding received international coverage and left thousands in the region without running water. It put a portion of the nearby town of Fairford under water.

Cleanup costs for the floods in Gloucestershire, which affected more than 4,000 homes, have been estimated between $100 million and $110 million, according to a BBC news report.

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