BISMARCK, N.D. -- Throughout North Dakota, residents have been forced to deal with years of abnormally high levels of rainfall. The ground has become so saturated, that water has formed thousands of pools of water covering farmland in every county in the state. Ground saturation is also causing havoc for homeowners with the continual reoccurrence of water in basements. This problem is affecting literally thousands of homeowners and has left many of them looking for solutions to end the problem.
The North Dakota Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) want individuals who are experiencing this problem to know there are ways to help manage and solve this dilemma.
"It is a shame, we have so many ways to help people with the problem of water in their basements, but if they don't apply for assistance by calling 1-800-462-9029, then we can't help them," stressed Federal Coordinating Officer Lesli A. Rucker. "Many people experience water in their basements year after year and are just resigned to the fact that it is something they will always have to deal with, but that shouldn't be the case. There are some solutions to help put an end to this."
Using grants from FEMA and the State along with loans from the SBA and insurance money, there are several projects that can be taken advantage of to reduce or stop water from entering a basement. The type of projects that FEMA can consider in a grant if you have continual water problems include:
- The purchase of sump pumps and battery backup sump pump systems to keep water out of the basement
- The purchase and installation of internal and external basement drains
- The installation of gutters, drain spouts, and/or extensions to help rainwater drain away from the home's foundation
- The abandoning and filling in of a basement
FEMA can also provide help with the pumping, repairing or moving of septic systems, the decontamination of well systems, the elevation and relocation of a home's electrical panel from a basement to the main level of the home, and the repair of roads or driveways that provide private access to a person's home.
The SBA will cover all the items covered by FEMA. In addition, the SBA can assist with loans to do the following:
- Elevating the water heater and furnace from the basement to a main floor in the home
- The building of a mechanical room to house the water heater, furnace and electrical panel that can be made into a safe room in the event the basement is filled in
- The repair of structural damage to a basement's floor, ceiling and walls
- The replacement of lost or damaged personal contents located in the basement such as refrigerators, beds, couches, and washers and dryers
"With this disaster declaration, it is the perfect opportunity for people to address the issue of continual basement flooding and finally make a long term impact on the problem," said Adjutant General Keith D. Bjerke, state coordinating officer. "People need to realize that no single agency or program can solve all of the problems and that looking at the State, FEMA, and the SBA as a package for combining funds is the best way to seek out a solution."
Rucker added that every case is specific to an individual's home and that is why it is so important for people to register for assistance. "I hear people say to me that they didn't think they were eligible for assistance, and I tell them to just apply and let us look at their situation," said Rucker. "Unfortunately people rule themselves out from receiving assistance and in many cases they could have received some help."
Anyone who lives in one of the 42 disaster declar...