A flood of concern

3/05/09 (Thu)

Representatives of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were on hand in Velva last Thursday, Feb. 24, to explain the project to update flood hazard maps and provide accreditation for levees.
Velva is surrounded by a levee, completed by the Corps in 1989 and then turned over to the city, making maintenance a local job. The dike system is a 100 year protection levee, but according to Corps and FEMA representatives, a levee can and will fail at some point.
The government employees hosted the meeting to explain the map updating process, the requirements for the local levee to get accredited, and the impact all this will have on flood insurance rates.
The strongest message delivered by the officials was that everyone living near a levee should have flood insurance, regardless of the accreditation procedure.
“We encourage people to purchase flood insurance while the community is in a low flood risk zone,” said FEMA engineer Kevin Doyle. “Even if the flood zones in Velva are restructured, the lower rates would be grandfathered in, and if kept current, can be passed on to new homeowners if you sell your property.”
He noted Velva participates in federal flood insurance protection, so every resident is eligible to buy the insurance. However, as the flood maps are updated, those insurance rates could change.