PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Town of Bowers, DE, is scheduled to be placed on probationary status with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on November 21, 2013, unless the Town remedies all of the identified corrective actions prior to that date. The NFIP is a federally backed program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program provides flood insurance coverage to residents of communities that agree to participate by adopting and enforcing adequate floodplain management ordinances and practices.
After working with the Town for three years to obtain compliance with the minimum requirements of the program, FEMA sent notification to Town officials that unless the identified remedial measures are taken, the Community will be placed on probation for floodplain management violations and program deficiencies.
The deficiencies cited in the Town of Bowers notifications include failure to manage floodplain development in accordance with the Town’s floodplain program, and failure to obtain and maintain compliance documentation for all floodplain development. Direct violations of the community’s flood damage prevention ordinance include failure to implement enforcement procedures to mitigate all suspected or known violations. Due to these identified deficiencies, FEMA is required to initiate the probation process pursuant to Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations §59.24.
These program deficiencies came to light after a Community Assistance Visit (CAV) on March 25, 2010. A CAV is a dual purpose meeting where a community is able to receive technical assistance related to the NFIP, and FEMA is able to assess the community’s enforcement of its floodplain management regulations. Since the 2010 CAV, FEMA has provided technical assistance on numerous occasions to the Town of Bowers regarding the floodplain management violations and program deficiencies.
Property owners will still be able to purchase and renew flood insurance coverage during the probationary period, but a $50 surcharge will be added to any policy sold or renewed in the community for the next year beginning on November 21, 2013. There are currently 123 flood insurance policies in the Town.
If the Town fails to make adequate progress during the first six months of the NFIP probation, or by May 21, 2014, the Town could be suspended from the program. The result of suspension is the loss of federally-backed flood insurance in the community, meaning that residents will not be able to purchase or renew their flood insurance policies after the suspension occurs.
Additionally, if a flood disaster occurs in a suspended community, most types of federal disaster assistance for structures within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), including federal assistance to individuals and households is not available. Furthermore, the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 prohibits federal agencies from making grants, loans, or guarantees for the acquisition or construction of structures located in a SFHA.
FEMA remains committed to working with the officials of Bowers to help the Town achieve a good standing in the NFIP.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.