ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to a storm water culvert on Spring Street Extension in Groton, Tompkins County, damaged during the June 2006 flooding were designed to a higher standard, and may be less vulnerable to future flooding.
Thanks to a New York State and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy, extra funding is provided to mitigate against future damages to public infrastructure.
June's torrential rainfall eroded away a 55-foot wide by 250-foot long area on the hillside and destroyed the 100-foot long, 24-inch diameter, concrete culvert.
The Village of Groton's Director of Public Works and Utilities, Jim Shurtleff, said that if the repair to this culvert was not done, the houses nearby would be affected by flooding with the occurrence of another historic rain storm. "We are confident now that we can maintain and control drainage much better than before," Shurtleff said.
President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for New York State as a result of the 2006 flooding.
The disaster declaration triggered the Public Assistance Program in Tompkins County to reimburse government entities and certain non-profits for emergency protective measures and the repair of damaged public infrastructure.
FEMA provides 75 percent of the grant funding. The 25 percent non-federal share is funded by the state. The New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) administers the program.
A major FEMA and SEMO goal is to mitigate, where it is cost effective, when restoring damaged infrastructure so the repaired facility is better able to withstand future disaster damages. Extra money spent now can reduce future impacts and costs.
SEMO and FEMA approved about $209,600 to replace the eroded hillside area, and added $52,000 to increase the length of the culvert to 308 feet so it runs from the hilltop to the bottom, which should ameliorate the conditions that caused the damages. The total project costs approximately $262,000, of which the federal share is approximately $196,000.
" Mitigation activities such as these are a smart way of doing business by spending monies now to lessen the threat to communities before an event occurs in the future," said State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, Director of SEMO.
"This is an excellent example of an investment in improvements that will pay dividends for years to come," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson.
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.