BISMARCK, N.D. -- Around North Dakota, citizens are doing battle against rising water, be it from rivers and lakes, or the ground itself. The state of North Dakota, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have been partners in this battle, providing technical and financial assistance to those who suffered water damage to their property. But as the construction season comes to a close, all will remain active in the battle against the water.
To complete repairs to their water-damaged homes, North Dakotans have received more than $23 million in the form of FEMA disaster-housing assistance grants, SBA low-interest loans, and funds from the state Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program to cover needs unmet by other programs. Recovery officials understand that North Dakota's short construction season may prevent some people from completing projects. Those who have received funds from FEMA, SBA or IFG will not have them revoked if they are unable to complete projects because of weather or lack of available contractors.
The sooner prevention measures are completed, the less probability there will be damage in the spring. Homeowners might consider placing a priority on completing exterior work while the weather is still cooperative. This includes putting up gutters and drain spouts, as well as any landscaping that can be done to direct water away from the property.
Once winter sets in, there are still projects that can be completed before spring, and in some cases it may be more cost-effective to wait. It may be less expensive to install an interior drain-tile system in the winter, when contractors are more readily available. This is also a good time to make sure any sump pump equipment, including a battery backup, is working properly.
Finally, there may be some projects that will have to wait until next spring if not completed in the next several months. Those who need to install septic mound systems may have to wait for the ground to thaw to do the project, but winter is a good time to locate and schedule contractors.
If you are having difficulty completing repairs and would like to give recovery officials an update on your situation, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or contact SBA at 1-800-366-6303.