PA ID# 059-91095; Capistrano Valley Water District
DSR ID# 31609; Repair 12-inch Water Line - San Juan Creek
Citation: FEMA-1044-DR-CA; PA ID 059-91095; DSR 31609.
Cross Reference: Winter storm and flooding; damage to water pipelines; creek bed water mains; NEPA review; DR-979 disaster; DSR 84122.
Summary: A 12-inch water pipeline belonging to the Capistrano Valley Water District (CVWD), which had been partially exposed but not ruptured in DR-979, suffered rupture damage from the January 1995 DR-1044 storms. In the aftermath of DR-979, FEMA wrote DSR 84122 for $115,087 to replace the pipeline but reduced the cost by 25% because the pipeline suffered from deferred maintenance. The applicant had not started the repairs by the time DR-1044 struck. FEMA wrote DSR 31609 under DR-1044 for $458,950 to repair the new damage using data provided by CVWD. On review, only $23,214 was approved for lost water and an engineering study. The repair portion was suspended pending the completion of the study to determine the repair method. The applicant proceeded to replace the pipeline at a cost of $462,490 in accordance with recommendations in an October 4, 1994, report from its engineering consultant. The report recommended that the pipeline be relocated approximately 100 feet away from the original crossing and that it be buried 17 feet below the streambed. The project that CVWD completed was an improved project that included significant hazard mitigation measures. The GAR was not requested to approve an improved project nor was FEMA requested to approve either hazard mitigation. The applicant did not subject the repair project to a NEPA review as required because of the change of scope.
Issue: Should FEMA fund the work the applicant performed in replacing the pipeline?
Findings: No. Increased funding under DSR 31609 is denied. The DSR authorized an engineering study that was not done. FEMA originally approved DSR 84122 for $86,315 ($115,087 less 25%) in DR-979 to replace the pipeline in a manner that would have restored it to essentially its predisaster design. On its own initiative, the applicant escalated the scope of work and performed an improved project. FEMA will retroactively approve the improved project and will reinstate the DSR 84122 funding of $86,315 towards the project.
Rationale: The DR-1044 DSR 31609 did not authorize repair-only a study. The applicant performed repairs under DR-979 DSR 84122 and FEMA retroactively authorized the improved project and excluded the project from a review under the National Environmental Policy Act.