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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 041-UEBHL-00; Energy Northwest
PW ID# 511; Pipeline Stabilization
March 29, 2010
Governor’s Authorized Representative
State of Washington Military Department
Emergency Management Division
MS: TA-20, Building 20
Camp Murray, Washington 98430-5122
Re: Second Appeal–Energy Northwest, PA ID 041-UEBHL-00, Pipeline Stabilization,
FEMA-1671-DR-WA, Project Worksheet (PW) 511
Dear Mr. Hardin:
This is in response to your letter dated February 17, 2009, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Energy Northwest (Applicant), a public utility. The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of funding to stabilize a landslide adjacent to a hydroelectric water supply pipeline.
In the early 1960’s, the Applicant constructed a 12 to 15-foot wide trail on the side of the mountain to access Lake Packwood to construct a dam. The Applicant constructed the trail using a cut-and-fill arrangement. After the dam was constructed, the Applicant constructed a 72-inch pipeline along the trail to carry water from the lake to the power plant. Heavy rains and flooding in November 2006 caused a mudslide that washed out a section of the road and reduced the lateral cover of the pipeline to 4.5 feet along a 60-foot section of the pipeline. The landslide had an arc width of 256 feet at the head scrap. The slide material traveled for 2,000 feet horizontally and 800 feet vertically. The landslide did not damage the pipeline. The Applicant requested funds to stabilize the landslide as an emergency protective measure to protect the pipeline from future damage. FEMA denied the request because the landslide did not damage the pipeline and the Applicant did not demonstrate that the landslide caused an immediate threat of damage to the pipeline. The Applicant completed construction of a soldier pile retaining wall to stabilize the slope in the spring of 2007 at a cost of $1,040,000. The Acting Regional Administrator denied the Applicant’s first appeal in a letter dated September 5, 2008. In a letter dated February 17, 2009, the grantee transmitted the Applicant’s second appeal to FEMA. The appeal file contains two reports that assess the structural stability of the pipeline. One report dated December 13, 2006, was prepared by Meir Enterprises, Inc. and one report dated June 2007 was prepared by Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
There is no dispute regarding the fact that the landslide did not damage the 72-inch pipeline. The landslide reduced the side cover of the pipeline to about 4.5 feet along a 60-foot section of the pipeline. The issue is whether the loss of soil adjacent to the pipeline created an immediate threat of damage to the pipeline. FEMA regulation defines an immediate threat as the threat of additional damage or destruction from an event which can reasonably be expected to occur within five years (20 percent chance of occurrence each year). The December 13, 2006 Meier report stated that the slope was stable, but additional soil loss adjacent to the pipeline could result in failure of the pipeline. The report recommended long-term stabilization of the slide area. The report did not describe an immediate threat the pipeline. The 2007 Shannon & Wilson report provided a geotechnical assessment of the site and options to mitigate future damage to the pipeline. The report states that results of its stability analysis showed a predisaster factor of safety of 0.95 to 1.5 at the site, depending on the assumption of high or low ground water level. The report concluded that the pipeline was vulnerable in major storm events if the Applicant did not implement mitigation measures at the landslide area. The Shannon & Wilson report provided justification for a permanent repair of the landslide area to protect the pipeline from major storm events in the future. Neither report addressed the immediacy of the threat of damage to the pipeline, which is necessary for Public Assistance funding.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Applicant did not submit any information to demonstrate that the landslide caused an immediate threat of damage to the pipeline. The Acting Regional Administrator’s decision on the first appeal is consistent with program regulations and policy. Therefore, the appeal is denied.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman
cc: Dennis A. Hunsinger, PhD
Acting Regional Administrator
FEMA Region X