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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-06A69-00; Sewerage Water Board of New Orleans
PW ID# Project Worksheet 16363; Inspection of Sanitary Sewer Manholes
July 2, 2009
Colonel Thomas Kirkpatrick (Ret.)
State Coordinating Officer
Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
RE: Second AppealSewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, FIPS 071-06A69-00,Inspection of Sanitary Sewer Manholes
, FEMA 1603-DR-LA, Project Worksheet 16363
Dear Colonel Kirkpatrick:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated August 28, 2008, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) decision to deny its request for an additional $2,117,877 for inspecting sanitary sewer following Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina severely impacted the operational capability of the Applicants sewer system. The Applicant developed the Emergency Sewer System Assessment (ESSA) as the damage assessment and repair methodology for the entire system. The Applicant contracted with Montgomery Watson Harza America, Inc. (MHW) to complete the work that included the cleaning of sewer pipelines, inspecting sewer lines using closed circuit television, and assessing manhole. The Applicant completed the ESSA in two phases. The Applicant completed Phase I as a post-Hurricane Katrina emergency response effort to identify the extent of damages and begin emergency repairs as needed. It completed Phase II to identify debris and blockages in the system that existed after emergency repairs were completed.
FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 371 (Phase I) in October 2005, for $13,958,000. Phase I covered the visual inspection of 23,000 of the sanitary sewer systems 25,283 manholes. After the completion of Phase I, the Applicant requested that FEMA provide reimbursement for the inspection of 18,250 manholes for Phase II. FEMA obligated PW 16363 for $6,781,224 to fund the Phase II work, but reduced the number of eligible manhole inspections to 5,250 because of a duplication of manhole inspections from Phase I. FEMA funding was $1,703,000 less than the amount the Applicant requested.
On November 28, 2007, the Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) submitted the Applicants first appeal. The Applicant requested $1,703,000 for work associated with PW 16363 because 18,250 manhole inspections were needed to develop the Phase II baseline assessment for the remaining portion of the system not addressed in Phase I. The Regional Administrator denied the Applicants first appeal on July 1, 2008, concluding that only 2,083 of the manholes in the system were not inspected during Phase I. Furthermore, the Regional Administrator determined that PW 16363 originally included funding for 3,167 manhole inspections that were duplicated from PW 371. Therefore, FEMA de-obligated an additional $414,877 from PW 16363 to account for the duplicated manhole inspections.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal to GOHSEP on August 28, 2008. On
December 16, 2008, the Applicant met with FEMA Headquarters representatives and presented a summary of information regarding the second appeal. The Applicant argued that both Phase I and II of the ESSA required inspecting some of the same manholes. Of the 25,283 manholes in the applicants sewer system, 23,200 were opened during Phase I to identify surcharged manholes. The manholes were surcharged for two reasons: blockage in the system, or the failure of the pump stations. In PW 371, FEMA funded the inspection of not only manholes that were surcharged but manholes that were not surcharged in an emergency effort to get the system working again. Since the pump stations were inoperative during Phase I, it was not possible to determine if the surcharged manholes were caused by system blockage or the pump stations being down. The Applicant used the baseline map information created from the Phase I inspections to determine the areas of the sewer that could be reasonably assumed to have blockage. After the pump stations were back on line, the Applicant re-evaluated some of the same manholes to determine the location of blockages in the system.
Based on my review of the information provided, I have determined that the work the Applicant completed during Phase II of the ESSA was necessary and reasonable to assess disaster-related damage to the sewer system. Therefore, the requested costs are eligible for reimbursement. Accordingly, I approve the appeal for $2,117,877. By copy of this letter, I am requesting that the Acting Director of the Transitional Recovery Office take appropriate action to implement this determination.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206 Appeals
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Gary Jones
Acting Regional Administrator
LA Transitional Recovery Office