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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 087-91024; Santa Cruz City Schools
DSR ID# 71071,71072; Playground Asphalt Surface Repair
Citation: Appeal Brief; Second Appeal; Santa Cruz City Schools; FEMA-1046-DR-CA; PA #087-91024
Cross-Reference: DSRs 71071 and 71072; Playground Asphalt Surface Repair; Category G
Summary: During the winter storms of January and March of 1995, a void formed beneath the asphalt-paved surface at two Santa Cruz City Schools playgrounds. At both locations the voids, which resulted in settlement of the paved surfaces, formed in areas adjacent to a manhole and storm sewer drain. Subsequently, FEMA prepared DSR 71071 for $509 to repair a sewer line, cave-in, and asphalt-paved surface at Mission Hill Junior High School and DSR 71072 for $509 to repair a storm sewer, cave-in and asphalt-paved surface at Westlake Elementary School. Upon review of the DSRs, it was determined that the damages appeared to be a pre-disaster problem of the storm sewer lines. Further, the estimate for each DSR was less than $1,000, therefore, no FEMA funding was available. The State submitted the first appeal on November 7, 1996, requesting $2,485 for DSR 71071 and $1,880 for DSR 71072, the actual costs to repair the sewer manhole and storm drain cave-ins and paved surfaces at both locations. The basis of the appeal was that the applicant did not agree with the original estimate of $509 on each DSR and requested reimbursement for actual costs to repair the damages. The former Regional Director denied the appeal on March 26, 1997, because it appeared that the damages were caused by the pre-disaster condition of the sewer and storm drain lines. The State forwarded the second appeal on September 5, 1997. The basis of this appeal is that the damages were a result of the disaster event. The applicant contends that the damages were a result of subterranean water flow from an unknown source eroding the sand backfill, which created the voids and cave-ins. The applicant also contends that subsequent play and foot traffic caused the asphalt to fail. The appeal is supported by a May 8, 1997, letter from Mr. Frank Gonzales, the contractor who performed the repairs. In this letter, Mr. Gonzales indicates that during repairs at each playground he was discovered that there were no damages to the sewer lines.
Issue: Were the cave-in and paved surface damages to the playgrounds a result of disaster damage to the nearby sewer line and storm drain?
Findings: Yes. The documentation submitted indicates that the disaster did not result in damage to the respective sewer lines. Therefore, the damages must be attributed to excessive groundwater from heavy rains during the disaster.
Rationale: To be eligible for financial assistance, an item of work must be required as the result of the major disaster event, pursuant to 44 CFR 206.223.