Certification of levee system at Portsmouth continues


PORTSMOUTH — The process of having the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certify the levee system at Portsmouth continues.

Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has submitted their report of the levee system. They did so on Feb. 18, 2016.

The previous inspection conducted returned to the city on April 18, 2013, revealed the project to be in unacceptable condition due to six significant areas of concern. In addition, there were identified in 2013 four unacceptable maintenance items.

Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen says the Feb. 18, 2016 letter for the 2015 inspections indicated that there were no areas of significant concern. He said the only “unacceptable” received in the maintenance item section was trees near the levee and he said the Flood Defense employees are working to remove the trees.

Allen refers to the report as “a remarkable improvement.”

In addition, Allen says FEMA has given April 8, 2016 as a deadline to submit the documentation they requested on Feb. 8, 2016.

A couple of months ago, the city filed all its paperwork with FEMA only to have them come back and request additional information. In fact, they are asking for 10 items of additional information.

Allen said FEMA is not questioning any of the information provided, they are asking for an explanation as to how the companies involved in the certification process, Howerton and AMEC arrived at their figures.

“FEMA is just asking for documentation as to how they came up with the calculations,” Allen said.

The point of contention came when Allen said Howerton was wanting to charge the city an additional $5,000 on top of the $126,000 the city appropriated to complete the work last year. At the time that was revealed, Allen said he had no intention of paying the additional $5,000.

Unfortunately for the Village of New Boston, their certification is tied to the certification of the portion of the levee in Portsmouth, and New Boston has been done with their application for a couple of years.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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