BILOXI, Miss. -- The City of Bay St. Louis will receive a grant of more than $1.08 million from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace and provide future protection for water meters damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Large amounts of debris, salt water flooding, and uprooted trees following Katrina severely damaged the city's drinkable water system. The grant includes more than $697,000 to replace 3,400 water meters that were lost or damaged and nearly $510,000 to storm-proof the meters, ensuring similar damage does not occur in the future. Ninety percent of the total $1.2 million project cost will be covered by the FEMA grant.
"FEMA has to look ahead to make sure that solutions are sustainable," said Alec Watson, chief of staff for the Biloxi Transitional Recovery Office. "That means close attention to mitigation and prevention as well as immediate relief."
In addition to the $1.08 million grant, FEMA previously disbursed a grant of $18.3 million to Bay St. Louis to bring certain potable water lines in the area to current codes and standards.
"Public Assistance grants play such a large role in the recovery process," said Mike Womack, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). "In order for residents to return and rebuild along the coast, repairing and improving the city's infrastructure is essential."
FEMA has already obligated nearly $2 billion in grants to Mississippi through the Public Assistance program. MEMA administers the program and allocates the money to the applicants.
The grant comes from FEMA's Public Assistance program, which provides financial assistance to state and federal governments and eligible non-profit organizations for disaster-related cleanup and rebuilding to pre-disaster condition. The state of Mississippi and the applicant pay a share of the costs for projects that are not fully funded by FEMA.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.