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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 113-12000-00; City of Cedar Rapids
PW ID# 6957, 10339, 10459 and 10436; Demolition
April 3, 2012
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division
7105 NW 70th Avenue
Camp Dodge, Building W-4
Johnston, Iowa 50131-1824
Re: Second Appeal–City of Cedar Rapids, PA ID 113-12000-00, Demolition FEMA-1763-DR-IA, Project Worksheet (PWs) 6957, 10339, 10459, and 10436
Dear Mr. Schouten:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated May 31, 2011, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Cedar Rapids (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) determination that the removal of concrete slabs is not an eligible demolition cost.
FEMA prepared PWs 6957, 10339, 10459 and 10436 to reimburse the Applicant for eligible costs associated with the demolition of private structures that were made unsafe as a result of the flooding that occurred in 2008. FEMA advised the Applicant on March 31, 2010, that the removal of concrete slabs from these damaged structures would only be eligible for Public Assistance funding if testing determined that the slabs contained hazardous material as a direct result of the declared disaster. FEMA also advised the Applicant that these determinations would be made on a case-by-case basis.
The Applicant appealed FEMA’s guidance on May 14, 2010. The Applicant contended that its pre-existing local codes and ordinances require concrete slabs and foundations be removed as part of its demolition operations. On January 31, 2011, the Regional Administrator determined that the removal of slabs and basement walls of damaged structures built prior to 1979 would be eligible for reimbursement because they most likely contained asbestos, which would present an immediate threat to public health and safety. However, the Regional Administrator determined that FEMA would require testing for the presence of asbestos in concrete slabs of damaged structures that were built after 1979. If tests determined that asbestos was not present, the removal of the concrete slabs would not be eligible for Public Assistance funding.
In its second appeal, submitted April 1, 2011, the Applicant contends that FEMA had determined that all costs associated with the removal of concrete slabs, foundations, and basements are ineligible. At the request of the State and the Applicant, FEMA convened a teleconference with representatives of the Applicant on November 17, 2011, to discuss the subject appeal. During the call, the Applicant reiterated that the removal of concrete slabs, foundations, and basements is required by its codes and ordinances as part of any demolition work. The Applicant informed FEMA that it did not test the slabs for asbestos due to the large number of properties that needed to be demolished.
Pursuant to Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.225(3)(i), emergency protective measures must either eliminate immediate threats to life, public health or safety, or eliminate immediate threats of significant additional damage to improved property. As stated in Disaster Assistance Policy DAP9523.4, Demolition of Private Structures, dated July 17, 2007, the removal of slabs or foundations is ineligible for Public Assistance funding, except in very unusual circumstances (e.g., when disaster-related erosion under slabs on a hillside causes an immediate public health and safety threat).
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Applicant has not demonstrated that the concrete slabs of the damaged structures, built prior to or after 1979, presented an immediate threat to public health and safety. The Applicant has not demonstrated the presence of asbestos in the slabs or that such presence would create a public health and safety threat requiring removal of the slabs. All costs associated with the removal of concrete slabs, foundations, and basements on PWs 6957, 10339, 10459 and 10436 are ineligible for Public Assistance funding. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal. By this letter, I am requesting the Regional Administrator to take appropriate action to implement my decision.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
cc: Beth Freeman
FEMA Region VII