RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — The Village of New Boston is nearly complete with its floodwall repairs and maintenance to meet new safety regulations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Without state or federal funding assistance, the village had no choice but to secure a $400,000 line of credit at U.S. Bank, but finished the project for only $300,000.
FEMA announced the new regulations in 2010 to cities and communities across the United States. The agency warned that they would de-accredit any community’s floodwall that has not met the requirements before the deadline of April 2011. The result of de-accreditation is that citizens would have to purchase their own flood insurance for much higher rates. Because the village of New Boston and the city of Portsmouth floodwalls are connected, if either one fails to pass FEMA inspection both will be de-accredited.
Neither New Boston or Portsmouth completed their repairs before the FEMA deadline, and the de-accreditation process was started for the village in February of this year. New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said the process still has not been finalized and he expects to compete the needed repairs in time to avoid de-accreditation.
“We’ve got to seal a couple cracks that’s in between the walls. There’s just a couple joints we have to fill with rubberized caulking, and then I’ve got to get some stuff added to the manual. But everything else has been completed,” Hamilton said.
He said the only major repair needed was to replace the trash screens in pump station No. 10.
“We got FEMA disaster money to help with that because that last hard rain we had, two trees went through those trash screens,” Hamilton said. “The other stuff was just little things, like some receptacle covers missing and I had all of the pumps and the electrical systems meggered out. We’ve got some chafing on the buildings, but that’s not going to stop the certification.”
Overall, he said, FEMA was very pleased with the condition of their floodwall — which is about 60 years old.
“The Flood Defense Supervisor, Mr. Don Winters, and the guys before him, they did a real good job of the upkeep and stuff. For the walls being that old, they was going in thinking there might be some underseepage, but when they sound tested the walls, ours was one of the strongest,” Hamilton said.
FEMA still requires the village to create a list of volunteers who could help during a flood. Anyone who would like to be added to that list can contact Hamilton at 740-456-4106.
Portsmouth Wastewater Director Richard Duncan said the city is also still moving forward with its own inspection, and also expects to avoid de-accreditation. He said the city was not pleased with the results of their first inspection, and commissioned a second opinion which found things considerably better than the first study. Duncan said the city is trying to get their second opinion study accepted.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.