Flood Risk Mitigation: Salem, MA Takes Advantage of FEMA Grant

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With the rise of natural disasters in our country it has become clear that every community and organization faces the risk of storm- and disaster-related damage. Flooding, severe storms, earthquakes – the list is long and growing, and all come with potential serious disruptions, destruction, and risk to human health. Fortunately, these negative impacts can be substantially reduced or eliminated through comprehensive pre-disaster planning and mitigation projects, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has funding to help make it happen.

Take the City of Salem, MA, for example. They were experiencing chronic flooding in the highly travelled Canal Street area of the city. To help mitigate future flooding they turned to FEMA and were selected to receive a $3 million grant to mitigate the problem. The city was able to secure this funding by first having an approved Hazard Mitigation Plan in place. They then worked with Woodard & Curran’s hazard mitigation team to develop an application for a FEMA Flood Hazard Mitigation Grant, which can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs.

With these funds, Salem will be implementing new stormwater drainage infrastructure improvements over the next several years that will help significantly reduce flooding in the future. Construction on the first phase of the mitigation project began in July 2013, with the second phase anticipated to begin in 2015.

With the proper plans in place FEMA funding is available for a variety of projects. Identifying risks and implementing solutions in advance could dramatically change the outcome for a community in the face of a disaster.

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About the Author:

Alan Benevides has over 30 years of professional experience in the civil engineering, hazardous, and solid waste markets. He specializes in the areas of hazardous and solid waste assessment and remediation, civil/site development and design, and regulatory compliance for municipal, industrial, and commercial clients. His over 10 years of solid waste experience includes the assessment of landfill gas migration and the design, permitting, and construction of landfill gas collection and treatment systems. He also has extensive experience in the landfill assessment process, landfill closures, landfill expansion, and solid waste co-composting facilities.

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