Flood­ing

Springfield Sun - - NEWS -

“Six­teen years ago it hit me, there has to be some­thing else. We need to be do­ing more of this,” he said of non­struc­tural flood pre­ven­tive mea­sures.

Be­tween 1985 and 2016 there has been $10.2 bil­lion in prop­erty dam­age due to flood­ing every year, Behm said, adding fa­tal­i­ties jumped from 81 in 1986 to 155 in 2015.

“Flood risk equals the prob­a­bil­ity of flood­ing times con­se­quences,” he said. “If we can re­duce the prob­a­bil­ity, we can re­duce risk.”

The Corps is look­ing at “crit­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties” like hos­pi­tals and util­i­ties, water and waste­water plants for 500-year level pro­tec­tion, Behm said. Non­struc­tural mea­sures in­clude evac­u­a­tion plan­ning, emer­gency man­age­ment plans and flood risk adap­tive mea­sures, he said, adding, “flood in­sur­ance is al­ways rec­om­mended.”

Steve O’leary of Hunt­ing­don, W. Va., an ar­chi­tec­tural en­gi­neer for US­ACE, said the Corps, whose fo­cus is to re­duce flood dam­age, works with the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, whose fo­cus is flood in­sur­ance, to try to re­duce in­sur­ance costs.

For prop­er­ties dam­aged by flood­ing, we look at: ac­qui­si­tion/ buy­out, which is not al­ways pop­u­lar; el­e­va­tion of the struc­ture above the flood level; re­lo­ca­tion of a struc­ture to higher ground; dry flood proof­ing, which has lim­i­ta­tions; wet flood proof­ing — let­ting the build­ing flood and el­e­vat­ing equip­ment above the flood level; and bar­ri­ers, such as berms or flood walls, which the Corps can rec­om­mend, but not con­struct, he said.

“El­e­vat­ing a home can re­duce in­sur­ance costs,” said Eric Ma­ju­siak, who ran the Corps’ work­shop.

Non-phys­i­cal mea­sures in­clude mak­ing peo­ple aware they live in a flood­plain, flood emer­gency pre­pared­ness and warn­ings, ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of evac­u­a­tion plans, the na­tional flood in­sur­ance pro­gram, flood­plain man­age­ment and land use reg­u­la­tions, O’leary said.

Tom Hughes, of the Penn­syl­va­nia Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, ex­plained “how to get money” through var­i­ous state pro­grams.

The state Haz­ard Mit­i­ga­tion Grant Pro­gram, which aims to “make com­mu­ni­ties more re­silient,” is funded 75 per­cent by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and 25 per­cent from the state, he said.

The grants are in­tended to fund “mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures to re­duce the risk of loss of life and prop­erty from fu­ture dis­as­ters” dur­ing the re­con­struc­tion process fol­low­ing a disas­ter, ac­cord­ing to a print­out provided.

The Flood Mit­i­ga­tion As­sis­tance pro­gram, which pro­vides 75 per­cent fed­eral funds but no state fund­ing, is non-disas­ter re­lated, and is for prop­erty own­ers who have a cur­rent flood in­sur­ance pol­icy, Hughes said. “A repet­i­tive loss prop­erty can get more money.”

“The No. 1 mit­i­ga­tion ac­tion is home ac­qui­si­tion,” he said, not­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has to be in­volved in ap­ply­ing for fund­ing.

If 50 per­cent or more of the value of a home is gone, that’s con­sid­ered sub­stan­tial dam­age, Hughes said. Mit­i­ga­tion would be a buy­out, el­e­va­tion or re­lo­ca­tion.

Pre­sen­ters also spoke about flood risk man­age­ment stud­ies con­ducted by the Corps, and Ken­neth Hen­drick­son of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency provided in­for­ma­tion on “green in­fra­struc­ture,” such as per­vi­ous pave­ment and land­scap­ing mea­sures in­clud­ing rain gar­dens, rain bar­rels and green roofs.

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