Summary: As a result of winter storms, the Lake County Sanitation District's and the Kelseyville County Water Works' sanitary sewer systems were inundated with floodwaters. Both systems required additional wastewater pumping and extra testing for contamination. The costs included emergency protective measures, increased power consumption, barricades and sandbagging, bacteriological testing, additional chlorine, and pump repairs. FEMA removed the costs incurred due to increased power consumption and bacteriological testing from the scope of eligible work because they were an operational expense increase, and, therefore, were not eligible. The subgrantee appealed the determination of ineligibility stating that the removed items are emergency protective measures covered under 44 CFR 206.225. After review, the Regional Director determined that the costs associated with additional water quality testing were eligible. However, the electrical power cost for extra pumping during the flood event was still not eligible because it is required as part of normal plant operation during the wet weather months. The subgrantee submitted a second appeal asserting that the additional wastewater pumping is an emergency protective measures, therefore, the electrical power costs should be eligible under 44 CFR 206.225.
Issues: Should FEMA fund increased utility cost incurred during emergency response measures?
Findings: No. Power consumption costs are an operational expense, and, therefore, do not meet any of the eligibility requirements for an emergency response.
Rationale: A requirement for all types of utilities is that increases in operating expenses, even if a result of a disaster, are not eligible.