EPA responds to certification story

By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has responded to a recent story in the Daily Times concerning the certification of the floodwall levee in the city of Portsmouth. The story related that there was no concern on the part of Wastewater Director Rick Duncan that the certification will take place. FEMA does not give any reason to believe it will be otherwise.

“Regarding the status of the levee accreditation process: our team has been working closely with the City of Portsmouth and the Village of New Boston regarding their levee accreditation packages within Scioto County, Ohio,” Cassie Ringsdorf of FEMA Region-5 in Chicago, said in an email. “These levee accreditation packages were just recently submitted for FEMA review at the end of June 2016. We are currently reviewing them for completeness and will continue working with these communities to move the accreditation process forward.”

The story expressed concern by insurance agent Dan Cassidy of Berndt-Murfin Insurance agency, that if decertification took place, FEMA might tell the city they would not issue flood insurance to people in the city.

“Regarding the availability of flood insurance in these areas: when levees meet Federal standards for protection, flood maps show them as accredited levees and show the land facing the levee as a moderate-risk area (Zone X) on the map,” Ringsdorf said. “Flood insurance is not federally required by lenders, but it is strongly recommended and available for purchase by residents and business owners if that community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).”

Ringsdorf said, in situations when levees do not meet Federal standards, they are considered non-accredited, and flood maps show the levee-affected area as a high-risk area. She said the scenario does not mean federal flood insurance is no longer available.

“In these high-risk areas, most mortgage holders will be required to carry flood insurance by their lender. Residents and business owners can learn more about the NFIP and living behind levees by visiting www.FloodSmart.gov, and if they need to find an insurance agent in their area, estimate their insurance premiums or rate their flood risk, they can do so on this site,” Ringsdorf said.

She said it is important to note that neither certification nor accreditation guarantees protection. All flood hazard maps showing levees will carry a warning that overtopping or failure is possible, and that flood insurance and adherence to evacuation procedures are strongly recommended.

By Frank Lewis


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

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