Citation: FEMA-1791-DR-TX, City of Galveston, Main Wastewater Treatment Plant, Multiple Project Worksheets (PWs)
Cross-Reference: Codes & Standards
Summary: On September 13, 2008, flooding caused by Hurricane Ike damaged multiple components of the main wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operated by the City of Galveston, Texas (Applicant). FEMA prepared 17 project worksheets applicable to specific damaged WWTP components. The PWs totaled $3,516,846 in assistance, including $1,585,557 in hazard mitigation funding. Two weeks prior to the disaster, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopted revised and updated rules pertaining to “Design Criteria for Domestic Wastewater Systems” appearing in Chapter 217 of the Texas Administrative Code. The design criteria include protection “for all open process tanks and electric units from inundation during a 100-year flood event.” The Applicant contends that Chapter 217 applied to and would require approximately $71.7 million in upgrades to the WWTP as a whole. . FEMA denied this request, stating that the Chapter 217 requirements did not satisfy all of the criteria under 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 202.226(d), Restoration of damaged facilities, Standards. The Applicant submitted a first appeal, arguing that the TCEQ would require WWTP reconstruction to comply with 100-year floodplain requirements and that these requirements would affect reconstruction of the entire WWTP. The Regional Administrator denied the first appeal decision, explaining that the PWs were written to repair only the damaged elements of the WWTP. The Applicant filed a second appeal, reiterating various reasons why it believes that FEMA should fund the costs of upgrading the WWTP to comply with Chapter 217 standards, even though the upgrades will require work to non-damaged elements of the facility.
Issues: 1. Do the design criteria for wastewater systems adopted by the TCEQ, as applied to construction of the Applicant’s main wastewater treatment plant, satisfy all the criteria set forth in 44 CFR § 202.226, Restoration of damaged facilities, Standards?
Findings: 1. No. The design criteria do not apply to the repair of limited components of the WWTP.
Rationale: Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act § 406(e), Repair, Restoration, and Replacement of Damaged Facilities, Net Eligible Cost; 44 CFR § 202.226(d), Restoration of damaged facilities, Standards; Disaster Assistance Policy DAP9527.4, Construction Codes and Standards