PA ID# 007-22264; Economy Borough
DSR ID# 91616; Landslide and Road Repairs
Citation: Appeal Brief; Second Appeal; Economy Borough; FEMA-1093-DR-PA; PA 007-22264
Cross-Reference: DSR 91616; Landslide and Road Repairs
Summary: Following the winter floods of 1996 in Pennsylvania, FEMA prepared DSR 91616 on July 10, 1996, to repair a section of Shaffer Road and supporting hillside located in Economy Borough (Borough). The damage consisted of a landslide over Shaffer Road. The level of funding was $0 because the damage to the roadway and hillside could not be linked directly to the incident period. The area was saturated for three to four months after the disaster incident period and landslide-type activity in the hillside existed prior to the disaster event. On September 23, 1996, the State forwarded the first appeal. The Borough contended that prior to the disaster the road was stable and requested funding for stabilizing the landslide and reconstruction of the roadway. The appeal also contended that road repairs were necessary for emergency services and the unstable slope was a threat to a fire station located on top of the hillside. A Site Investigation Report prepared for the Borough by an engineering firm concluded that the hillside supporting the fire station was not stable in the long term and that the recent landslide at this site appeared to be continuation of a long-term, inherent instability problem. Another engineering report submitted with the appeal supported the conclusions of the first. The Regional Director denied the appeal on January 28, 1997, because the landslide was a pre-existing condition. The Regional Director indicated that FEMA's landslide policy does not provide for the stabilization of pre-existing landslide conditions. Rather, the policy provides that, in general, once a site is stabilized by others, the reconstruction of the roadway may be eligible for assistance. The State submitted the second appeal on June 13, 1997. The appeal was based on the contention that failure of an unstable condition can occur well after the disaster event, supported by information from a geotechnical-engineering book. The Borough also contends that the damaged road creates adverse impacts on providing emergency services.
Issue: Is the repair of the landslide and the roadway eligible?
Finding: No. The landslide resulted from a pre-existing unstable condition and the roadway damage occurred well after the incident period.
Rationale: Policy No. 4511.300 A, EX, Landslide Policy Relating to Public Facilities establishes that if the site is found to be unstable due to an identified, pre-existing condition, the applicant is responsible for stabilizing the site. Further, 44 CFR 206.223 requires that to be eligible, an item of work must be the direct result of the major disaster event.