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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 000-91030; Highridge Water Authority
DSR ID# 95584; Sugar Run Dam
Citation: FEMA-1093-DR-PA, Highridge Water Authority, DSR 95584
Cross Reference: Pre-disaster Conditions, Temporary Disaster Effects, No Permanent Damage
Summary: Sugar Run Dam is a ninety-year-old earthen water supply dam that is owned by the Highridge Water Authority (subgrantee). On January 19 and 20, 1996, heavy rains melted a deep snowpack resulting in extensive flooding and the declaration of FEMA-1093-DR-PA. The subgrantee estimated that the reservoir came within one foot of overtopping the dam. At the time of the site inspection, the reservoir had been lowered by 22 feet at the recommendation of the subgrantee's consultant. Observations of increased seepage, discolored seepage, distorted piezometers and a tilted surface casing had led the consultant to conclude that the disaster had reduced the safety factor of the dam against failure. Despite these observations, the FEMA inspector stated that there was no visible damage to the dam. Therefore, DSR 95584 was written for zero dollars to document the condition of the dam at the time of the inspection. The DSR states that the subgrantee had authorized their consultant to perform a geotechnical study of the dam to investigate possible internal structural damages. The first appeal included the report of the geotechnical investigation of the dam, and requested that FEMA fund $5,487,905 for the rehabilitation of Sugar Run Dam. The report contends that the dam was damaged by the disaster, and that it requires an earthfill buttress, a new spillway and improvements to appurtenant facilities. FEMA determined that the report did not substantiate the claim that the disaster damaged the dam, so the first appeal was denied. In the second appeal, the subgrantee pointed out one error in FEMA's first appeal response, highlighted some of the data presented in their geotechnical report, and emphasized that damage caused by the disaster resulted in the necessity of lowering the elevation of the reservoir. However, no new information was presented. Although not specifically stated, it is assumed that the subgrantee is still requesting funding of $5,487,905 for dam rehabilitation.
- Did the disaster cause increased seepage and embankment distortions?
- Are these observed effects indications of facility damage?
- Is the proposed dam rehabilitation eligible for FEMA funding?
- Yes. High reservoir levels caused by the disaster produced these effects.
- No. The effects were temporary responses of the dam to high water.
- No. The rehabilitation is necessary because of pre-disaster conditions.
Rationale: FEMA funding for permanent restoration of a facility is available only for damages caused by the disaster.