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Second Appeal Analysis
PA ID# 073-90100; Chuckanut Trails Water Associtation
DSR ID# 22999; Waterline Relocation
As a result of the rainstorms of 1997, damage occurred to the Chuckanut Crest Drive roadway and shoulder in Bellingham, Washington. Due to the failure of the roadway embankment, 1,000 lineal feet (lf) of an eight (8) inch PVC fire-control waterline owned by the Chuckanut Trails Water Association (CTWA) was damaged. Chuckanut Crest Drive is a private road owned by the Chuckanut Trails Road Association (CTRA), which is an ineligible applicant.
FEMA prepared Damage Survey Report (DSR) 22999 for $31,006 to relocate and restore the waterline under the shoulder on the opposite side of the road. The Federal/State inspection team determined that the fill section of the road was unstable due to unstable fill material in the road prism. Therefore, the scope of eligible work was limited to relocation of the waterline to the opposite side of the roadway in undisturbed earth. This determination was based on CTWA's geotechnical consultant recommendations and it would permit waterline repair without slope stabilization and roadway restoration.
The CTWA member of the inspection team did not concur with this recommendation. The CTWA submitted a letter of non-concurrence and requested funding of $6,000 for an engineering and geotechnical engineering study to establish the cause of the failure and the repair methodology.
On April 7, 1998, the CTWA submitted the first appeal with a detailed first appeal package dated December 12, 1997. The basis of the appeal was that slope failure and fill instability were not the cause of the damage to the waterline, but rather Rain-on-Snow water-driven erosion. Additionally, the applicant contended that relocation to the uphill side of the roadway was not practical due to required rock excavation to install the waterline and the right-of-way required was not available to CTWA. The CTWA provided documentation from Martin, Northart and Spencer (MNS) Engineering, which supported their position. The CTWA submitted multiple construction cost estimates as follows:
- $92,940 for relocation to uphill side of roadway (including engineering)
- $132,964 for restoration two to three feet below the original position (including engineering & geotechnical)
- $121,844 for restoration in the original position
The CTWA indicated that of these options the only viable alternative was to restore the waterline at the original location because right-of-way easements were under the control of the CTRA and they were against the relocation to the uphill side. In addition, the construction on the uphill side would require blasting into bedrock and possible disruption to other utilities.
The State of Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) supported the CTWA's appeal request and recommended approval of the waterline restoration in its original position. However, the EMD noted that the retaining wall would not be eligible as mitigation, because it was not cost effective.
The Regional Director determined that the portion of the site supporting the waterline was unstable and site stabilization and road restoration were not eligible. However, the Regional Director concurred with the CTWA's position to restore the waterline in its original location, rather than on the uphill side of the roadway. Therefore, a revised DSR for $24,075 was prepared to restore the facility in its original location without stabilization and without restoring the road. This revised estimate was based on the unit prices submitted by CTWA .
On November 17, 1999, the EMD submitted the second appeal on behalf of the CTWA. The EMD included supporting documentation from a September 15, 1998, submittal from the CTWA. The CTWA's documentation reiterates the analysis and discussion from the first appeal and includes an additional review from JAK Engineering. The CTWA submission does not include any supporting cost estimates.
The second appeal submission by EMD, indicates that the CTWA estimated costs at $300,000, however EMD recommends approval of $150,000 of eligible costs. No cost estimates or support documentation were provided. Additionally, the EMD notes that the State member of the original inspection team, a professional engineering geologist, reversed his opinion and indicated that the damage was caused by the slope erosion related to the disaster, not landslides.
The issue of the second appeal is whether the supporting ground for the waterline restoration is eligible for funding. The waterline of the CTWA is an eligible facility, in accordance with Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), section 206.223. At the time of the original DSR inspection, it was determined that the site was historically unstable and the DSR provided for restoration of the waterline to the opposite side of the roadway in undisturbed earth. However, the CTWA did not concur with this determination and requested a geotechnical study to determine the cause of failure and the appropriate solution. FEMA did not approve this request, and the CTWA hired its own geotechnical engineer to perform a geotechnical evaluation. Information and evaluation by the applicant's engineering firms and the original State inspector determined that the site was stable prior to the disaster. This documentation (information within the evaluations) demonstrates that the damages occurred in the fill installed as part of the original facility and recognize that the damages were a result of slope erosion related to the disaster. As such, restoration of the integral ground to support the waterline is eligible. However, neither the CTWA nor the State submitted any documentation to support their requested cost estimate of $300,000 or $150,000, respectively. Upon request, the applicant provided the first appeal estimate of the costs for $132,964. This estimate was developed by MNS engineering for CTWA using the concept of lowering the waterline two to three feet, including $110,804 for saw-cutting asphalt ($1,491), pavement removal ($1,800), rock excavation ($11,000), excavation ($1,800), rock wall ($51,800), concrete retaining wall ($15,600), backfill ($8,835), pipe and fittings ($14,458), asphalt repaving and flagging ($4,020) and an additional $22,160 for engineering and geotechnical services. Exclusive of the rock and retaining walls (which were determined to be non-cost effective by FEMA and the State in the first appeal), this estimate provides a reasonable method of restoring the waterline and the integral ground to the pre-disaster condition. Therefore, eligible expenses total $52,084, including $43,404 ($110,804 - $67,400) and $8,680 for engineering and geotechnical engineering (10 % each). The currently approved funding is $24,075, therefore an additional $28,009 is eligible for funding.
The waterline and its supporting foundation are an eligible facility which were damaged by DR-1159. As a result, an additional $28,009 to restore the waterline and supporting foundation are eligible for funding. Therefore, the appeal is partially approved, as discussed above.