PA ID# 059-91108; Orange County Sanitation District
DSR ID# 98522; Ocean Outfall Treatment Plants
PURPOSE: Respond to third appeal submitted by the Orange County Sanitation District
DISCUSSION: In January 1995, winter storms led to increased flows in the Orange County Sanitation District (subgrantee) wastewater treatment plants which discharge to an ocean outfall located five miles off-shore (200-foot depth). Increased pumping pressure caused the outfall flap gate to fail, allowing treated wastewater to discharge directly into the ocean rather than through a mile-long diffuser pipe. Chemical treatment of the incoming wastewater had to be increased to increase suspended solids removal required by their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. On September 17, 1995, damage survey reports (DSRs) 98522 and 91654 were prepared in the amount of $70,529 and $33,982, respectively for the chemicals and energy costs. Both DSRs were ruled ineligible by FEMA Region IX, because both items were considered to be increased utility operating costs rather than emergency protective measures. (Note: FEMA funded the temporary and permanent repair of the ocean flap gate under DSRs 98651 and 98652). The first and second appeals were submitted by the subgrantee claiming that the excess chemicals used and extra energy costs were a result of the District attempting to protect public health and the environment. The first appeals were denied by the Regional Director because the costs were for increased expenses required to operate a utility, not for emergency protective measures, and thus were not eligible for FEMA funding. In the second appeal, the subgrantee only appealed for the costs associated with the increased chemical treatment. In the third appeal, the subgrantee is reiterating its original argument that the increased chemical treatment costs were necessary to protect public health and safety. No new information has been provided.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Sign the letter denying this appeal.