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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 101-91016; Reclamation District No. 1500
DSR ID# 98473; Town of Robbins
Citation: FEMA-1155-DR-CA; PA ID 101-91016; DSR 98473.
Cross Reference: Winter storm and flooding;.
Summary: During the late December storms of 1996, Reclamation District No. 1500 (district) activated its discharge pumps to remove excess water from the District's drainage canal. The District claimed that drainage of the canal was essential to prevent flooding and possible evacuation of the town of Robbins located south of the termination of the canal and applied for disaster assistance. FEMA wrote DSR 98473 on April 25, 1997, for $49,164 to reimburse the District for the excess power costs associated with the operation of the pumping facilities. The DSR was declared ineligible because the pumping was deemed to be for dewatering which is an ineligible activity. A follow-up inspection visit was made on May 17, 1997, at which time FEMA's inspector generated a `memo to file' showing reasons why he did not consider the pumping necessary to protect the Town of Robbins. The District challenged this memo showing that the water level in the Bohannon Canal was critical in determining the flood situation in the town. The applicant claimed that in order to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewers and entering homes, it was necessary to keep the level in the canal under 19 feet. FEMA denied the first appeal and the applicant resubmitted the same arguments in its second appeal. Examination of the situation using a Department of the Interior Geological Survey map indicated the drop of no more than two feet in the canal in the approximately seven miles between the Town of Robbins and the drainage pumps. This situation gave credence to the applicant's claim that the pumps had to be operated to keep the level in the canal at a level to prevent flooding in the town.
Issue: Should the District be funded for operating the pumps for the period that was in excess of the four-year average emergency use?
Findings: Yes. The District was able to demonstrate that with the virtually zero grade to remove the water from the canal and with a wide area of watershed into the canal, it was necessary to operate the drainage pumps continuously to prevent flooding in the Town of Robbins.
Rationale: 44 CFR 206.225 provides for emergency work to protect lives and improved property.