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THE INSIDER Powered By Docstoc
					THE INSIDER                                                                            A Publication
                                                                                       for Members

The Association of State Floodplain Managers                                               2005
2809 Fish Hatchery Rd. Madison, WI 53713
608-274-0123 Fax: 608-274-0696

Executive Director’s Report
                                                                     In this Issue
Larry Larson, CFM                                                    Click on any of the following links, or simply
                                                                     scroll down to view the entire newsletter.
How to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina---and should we?
                                                                     Executive Director’s Report
By now all of you have seen the ASFPM White Paper on                 Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath
Reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. We presented that            FEMA Issues Guidance for Levee Review
paper at a press conference in Washington DC on 9-9-05 at the        ASFPM Welcomes New Board Member
National Press Club. Mark Davis from the National Wildlife           Streamgage Funding in FY 2007
                                                                     1986 California Levee Break Settlement
Federation, Gerry Galloway of the University of Maryland and         FEMA Appoints new Chair of CRS Task
I made statements at the press conference and answered                  Force
questions from numerous reporters. By now you may have               Hurricane Katrina Quick Response Grants
seen some of what we said quoted in the news media. You can          Funding Available for Hurricane Katrina
read the ASFPM White Paper on our web site by clicking on:              Research                 Washington Legislative Report
_090905.pdf.                                                         Septic Systems Threaten Groundwater
A few of our members have emailed me, concerned that the             ASWM Legal Workshop
ASFPM seems to argue that New Orleans should be rebuilt,             News From Chapters
                                                                     CFM Corner
and they see this as inconsistent with what we stand for as an       Floodplain Manager’s Calendar
organization. That is a legitimate concern, so I want to take        Job Corner
this article to explain our position.

To summarize very quickly, the main points of our white paper are:
    1. Reconstruction along the coast must be done in compliance with regulations and codes (now is also the
       time to collect data from this storm to analyze if our current mapping and management approaches
       worked in this storm and adjust if needed based on that actual event).
    2. If the New Orleans area is to be rebuilt, two things must happen: (concurrently)
            a. Structural protection must be provided to the 500 year/cat 5 level.
            b. The Coastal wetlands must be protected/restored to buffer future storms.

We can say that cities like New Orleans, Miami Beach, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others should
not be where they are because they are at great risk to natural hazards. If they did not exist today, we have data
and information that could perhaps guide them to safer locations. But they already exist, and the tremendous
political pressure to keep them there will outweigh the scientific voice to abandon the city, its heritage, culture,
and its people. Think of the economic impact of the New Orleans coastal area. Indications are that a third of the
goods flowing through our ports go through New Orleans, and that 15 - 20% of the nation’s gasoline comes
from refineries in this area. Those kinds of facilities cannot exist without workers and the infrastructure to
support them. To create that infrastructure elsewhere now would be even more costly.

In other words, not reconstructing New Orleans won't happen. As such, in order for ASFPM to be part of the

national policy dialogue at all, we made a conscious decision we would focus on "how to reconstruct?” not
"should we?". Our basic position has always been that structural works are a poor alternative to reduce flood
losses. But when they are the only viable option (and in this case, that is how the nation’s decision makers see
the New Orleans area), the structural protection must be more than the minimum standard of the 1% chance
flood event we use to protect structures in ordinary floodplains. The logic of that is that a flood larger than the
predicted 1% will do minor damage to a structure elevated to the 1% level, but will have catastrophic
consequences to those structures protected by structural measures such as levees and dams once that structure
fails or is overtopped. This is true because structures behind levees are typically not elevated at all.

If the New Orleans area is to going to exist because it has structural protection, levees must be designed not only
for the 500 year flood, but for a category 5 hurricane, whichever is greater. While that will be enormously
expensive, the alternative costs of the disaster are now clear to us---probably in the $100 billion range. At the
same time, we must invest in protection of the coastal ecosystem that will preserve and restore the wetlands
which provide the buffer for the Southeast Louisiana area. Data indicates that for every 2.7 miles of wetland
buffer, the hurricane storm surge drops 1 foot. That is why our position, if the nation decides it wants the New
Orleans area to be there, is that both the 500 year/category 5 protection and the wetlands buffer
protection/restoration must occur concurrently. There are many reasons to support the ecosystem restoration
beyond flood protection, ranging from the economic arguments through the natural resource issues and
environmental issues.

All of these factors lead to the ASFPM position articulated in the Katrina white paper, and is also in our
previous policy papers and positions—(see web site).

ASFPM invites all of our members to contribute your thoughts on these matters of critical importance to the
nation. The collective knowledge and experience of all of us is necessary to meet our mission of reducing flood
damages and enhancing the natural and cultural values and resources of floodplains and watersheds. Send your
thoughts to

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The NFIP State Coordinating Offices in Louisiana and Mississippi would like to thank all
of the states that have opened their hearts and homes to the evacuees from Louisiana and
Mississippi. We would also like to thank every state that has offered NFIP assistance and
assure each and every one of you that we appreciate your help and look forward to
working with you in the future. Please continue to keep the Hurricane Katrina disaster
victims in your thoughts and prayers.

- Al Goodman, Mississippi NFIP State Coordinator
- Cindy O’ Neal, Louisiana NFIP State Coordinator

Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, one of the most dangerous storms in U.S. History, ravaged the Gulf Coast,
President Bush issued major disaster declarations for Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The declaration
authorized financial assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, that will help pay for temporary housing, home
repairs, and other serious disaster-related expenses. The following statistics were released by the Department of
Homeland Security last week:

       Federal Disaster Declarations are covering 90,000 square miles of affected areas.
       More than 75,800 response, rescue, recovery, and law enforcement personnel are working around the
        clock to bring critical aid and support
       35,000 evacuations have been made from New Orleans
       42,000 National Guard are on the ground in three states
       FEMA deployed more than 57 National Disaster Medical System Teams and 28 Urban Search and
        Rescue teams with nearly 1,800 to save lives and render medical assistance.
       FEMA established a Housing Area Command to oversee all temporary housing operations across the
        Hurricane Katrina impacted areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Housing Strike Teams are
        being readied for deployment into each state to begin the process of quantifying temporary housing
       Approximately 4,000 Coast Guardsmen are working in the affected areas on response and recovery
        efforts. This includes 15 Coast Guard cutters, 37 airplanes and rescue helicopters, 63 small boats, three
        maritime safety and security teams, and three oil and hazardous material response teams.
       More than 3,300 Red Cross staff and volunteers across the country and from every part of the
        organization have deployed to the affected area are working around the clock to serve the public need.

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FEMA Issues Guidance for Levee Review
FEMA announced last month that a Levee Coordination Committee, including representatives from FEMA,
other Federal Agencies, and States, is examining current levee regulations and assisting in the development of a
long-term levee policy. FEMA issued a procedure memorandum that provides some guidelines and standards
for levee review. It is important you understand how areas behind levees will now be mapped. The memo
indicates that levees without certification will be mapped as if the levees do not exist. See the links below for
detail. Also see the article on the California settlement for levee failure on page 4.
The FEMA memorandum can be viewed on the ASFPM website at
The memorandum refers to 44 CFR Section 65.10(a), a copy of this section can also be downloaded on the
ASFPM website at

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Region IV Members Elect Eugene Henry to Serve on Board of Directors
         ASFPM welcomed Eugene Henry, CFM of Florida to the Board of Directors last month. Eugene will
serve as Region IV Director, a position that recently became vacant after former Region IV Director Al
Goodman was elected Vice Chair at the ASFPM national conference in June.
         Eugene is certified as a Floodplain Manager and a member of the American Institute of Certified
Planners. He currently works for Hillsborough County. As a professional, he has practiced in Public and Private
Sectors since 1983. His professional career has included work with floodplain administration, comprehensive
planning, and emergency management. In planning, tasks have included administering programs in areas of
hazard mitigation and floodplain management, permitting and construction, land-use allocation, capital
improvements programming and facility management, and large-scale developments. Within emergency
management, his experience includes working with local governments in implementing a 911-Addressing
program, serving on disaster-assessment teams (many were associated with floods), implementing components
of a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, and serving as professional staff during periods of the local
center's activation.
         Additionally, he has assisted in establishing non-profit organizations, including working with others to
create the Florida Floodplain Managers Association (he currently serves as one of the founding Board
members). He was the recipient of the ASFPM Larry R. Johnston Local Floodplain Management Award in
2002. He has been involved with ASFPM for a long time and assisted with the past National Floodproofing

Conference that was held in Tampa, Florida.
        He completed undergraduate work in Tallahassee, Florida in geography and planning from the Florida
State University. His graduate work was completed at the University of South Florida in Public Administration.
He and his family currently live in the Tampa Bay area.

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Streamgage Funding in FY 2007
Numerous organizations concerned about the loss of streamgages signed a letter last month, urging the
President’s Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Interior to increase funding support for the
federal backbone of streamgages and for the Cooperative streamgaging program. A copy of this letter can be
viewed on the ASFPM website at:
If your agency is concerned about the loss of streamgages, you may wish to inform your Congressional
representatives of the impact of lack of long term streamgage data in predicting floods and developing accurate
flood maps.

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1986 Levee Break Settlement
A Wave of Relief After 1986 Flood; Victims of a levee break near Sacramento are paid by the state for
damages, which now total $464 million. Some fear setting a precedent

By Nancy Vogel, Los Angeles Times
August 15, 2005

LINDA, Calif. — California taxpayers gave hundreds of thousands of dollars last month to Wayne Hall and his
son, Dale, 19 years after a flood submerged their butcher shop in 6 feet of water. The settlement resolved a bitter
legal battle so prolonged that nearly 500 victims of the disaster died waiting for similar payments.
         The money — "a nice check," said Wayne, though he won't disclose the figure — settled the Halls'
damage claims from a 1986 levee break that destroyed thousands of dollars worth of meat and all but the shell of
their shop near Marysville, north of Sacramento.
         In all, California taxpayers will pay $464 million to nearly 3,000 people and their heirs, as well as
businesses and their insurers, affected by the collapse of a section of earthen mound along the Yuba River. The
total is more than the annual budget of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, the state Department of
Fish and Game or the state Energy Commission.
         Officials fear the court ruling that spurred the settlement will lead to giant payouts of tax dollars to flood
victims in the future. The June ruling found the state liable for damages from the collapse of the 101-year-old
         "I think it is going to have long-lasting and rather severe financial effects on the state of California,"
said Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach).
         Most of the settlement money is for interest accrued over nearly two decades while the state refused to
settle. Shortly after the flood, overall damages in the relatively poor towns flooded were estimated at $100
         The state had a billion-dollar surplus at the time but argued in court that it was not liable for the
damages. This year, the cash-strapped state borrowed most of the settlement money from Merrill Lynch & Co.
The state has disbursed $36 million and is to pay back the rest with interest over the next decade.
         Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff said he has asked for legislation to blunt such liability in the future,
concerned that it could siphon money from schools, roads and other government services. A bill is in the works,
but it has run into resistance from landowners, developers and local agencies that maintain levees, as well as
most Republican lawmakers, who opposed the property fees the proposed legislation once contained for levee

          Even with regular investment in levee repairs, experts say some flooding is inevitable along the earthen
fortifications that hold back rivers as they flow from the Sierra into the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.
Experts joke that there are two kinds of levees: those that have broken and those that will break.
          At the same time, potential damages are soaring as thousands of homes are built on former peach
orchards and tomato fields south of Yuba City and Marysville, within commuting distance of Sacramento. The
same periodic floods that once simply washed silt onto fields would now destroy carpets, furniture and cars.
          "There's development going on behind levees that we know are not good levees," said Jeffrey F. Mount,
a UC Davis geology professor and member of the state Reclamation Board, which attempts to control
development in flood plains. "If these levees break, and they will eventually fail, and these people are flooded,
the first thing people are going to say is, 'You should have known.' "
          A case in point is the 1986 damage claim, called Peter Paterno vs. State of California, which included
two trials. In November 2003, an appellate court ruled that the flood victims suffered because of an
unreasonable state plan.
          The levee was scraped together by men and horses in 1904, improved by federal engineers in 1934 and
incorporated into the state's Sacramento Valley flood control plan in 1953. After the state took responsibility, it
never tested the heart of the levee to see how strong it was.
          Even though the levee withstood floods in 1955 and 1964, its core was made mostly of gravel that was
not compressed, and it was located in a place prone to seepage.
          "When a public entity operates a flood control system built by someone else, it accepts liability as if it
had planned and built the system itself," the appeals court justices wrote.
          The state appealed that decision, but in the spring of 2004, the California Supreme Court declined to
consider it. Settlement talks began in earnest for the first time, culminating in the recent agreement.
          The sun was shining Feb. 20, 1986, after nine days of heavy rain, and the Yuba River was starting to
recede when a 150-foot section of the levee gave way. Water inundated 10 square miles of land in the
communities of Linda and Olivehurst, including the Peach Tree Mall a few blocks from the modest home of
Mariel and Pete Paterno.
          Scrimping to put two children through college, the Paternos had dropped their flood insurance four
months earlier. The flood ruined Mariel Paterno's wedding gown, clippings from her children's first haircuts and
French provincial-style furniture.
          A settlement, she said, would have cost a lot less in 1986.
          "It's burdened all the people in California," said Paterno of the 19-year lag.
          The state oversees roughly 1,600 miles of levees, all in the Central Valley. The berms protect more than
half a million people, 200,000 structures and 2 million acres of farmland.
          The state inspects the levees and evaluates maintenance by local authorities. According to the state
Department of Water Resources, the backlog of repairs on the aging levees, many of which date to the mid-
1800s, exceeds $2 billion.
          In Southern California, where rivers are smaller and shorter, the state has no similar role. Local agencies
take responsibility for flood control.
          Lawmakers are worried by the Paterno decision but say there's no easy, cheap way to reduce the state's
liability or prevent floods.
          The Schwarzenegger administration this year boosted the state's levee maintenance budget by $26
million, reversing cutbacks of the last several years. And the governor's aides drafted a bill in February that
would have created a Central Valley authority to assess fees on property owners to pay for better flood control.
          Republicans — with the exception of Harman, Shirley Horton of Chula Vista and Keith Richman of
Northridge — voted against the bill, AB 1665 by Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), even after the
property fees were deleted. They said they feared the fees could be reintroduced.
          Brian E. White, assistant legislative director for the state Department of Water Resources, said that
while the bill is pending in the Senate, talks are continuing on amendments to define the levees for which the
state is responsible, set repair priorities and require counties to notify property owners that they ought to buy
flood insurance. Eventually, he said, the administration hopes to sponsor legislation that would impose flood
control fees across the Central Valley.
          "While the state is on the hook for potentially millions of dollars," White said, "it's not only a liability
issue. It's a public safety issue."

          In Linda, the scruffy community where the levee collapsed nearly 20 years ago, the flood has left an
indelible mark.
          Today the Peach Tree Mall — which once had a JCPenney, a Kmart and numerous specialty shops —
sits virtually empty, except for county welfare and health offices. The lights are dim, the floors are scuffed and
the parking lot is weedy.
          The former mall owners, tenants and their insurers are expected to get $36 million.
          Some say the area might have recovered more quickly if the state had settled the claims right after the
          "The money would have been back in circulation, the people would have been back in, the economy
would have been different out here," said Dale Hall, the butcher.
          Before the flood, Wayne Hall said, he could sell an entire case of barbecued chicken to local customers
in a day. That changed after the flood, as people moved away or their budgets tightened after borrowing money
to repair their homes.
          To fix their devastated shop, including demolishing a concrete freezer floor to replace soaked insulation,
the Halls borrowed money from family and the Small Business Administration. For 15 years, they paid roughly
$1,800 a month on the debt, on top of a mortgage.
          They shifted their business to specialty hams and sausages and started taking orders from many miles
away. They called the check they just received after 19 years of waiting a "comfort." But the money doesn't
dissolve bitterness toward the state.
          "Because there was such a small amount of voters up here, it looked to me like [state attorneys] didn't
really care what happened up here," Wayne Hall said. "If this had happened in Los Angeles, they would have
settled it the week after."
          Dave Sterling, chief deputy to state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren from 1991-98, said he understands the
flood victims' frustration. But the state's lawyers believed that settling the case would have effectively been an
admission of responsibility and would have opened the door to untold liability in places with old levees, Sterling
          "The thinking was that if a court eventually decided it," he said, "so be it."

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FEMA Appoints New Chair of CRS Task Force
FEMA appointed Tom Powell as the new chair of the CRS task force last month. Mr. Powell participated on the
CRS Task Force, representing State Farm Insurance in the 1990s. His appointment is for a three-year term that is
renewed annually. The CRS Task Force is responsible for reviewing CRS standards and activities, and making
recommendations to the Federal Insurance Administrator.

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Hurricane Katrina Quick Response Grants
Disaster Research
Natural Hazards Center, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

The Natural Hazards Center is in the process of activating several quick Response grants studying the impacts of
Hurricane Katrina. More information on specific projects will be announced in the coming weeks. Proposals for
Quick Response studies are solicited each September by the Center and are approved on a "stand-by" basis. If a
qualifying event occurs during the following year, researchers have the option of activating their grants. The
small grants average about $2,000 and cover transportation, food, and lodging. The Center is activating new
proposals as well as those submitted last fall. For information on proposing or activating a Quick Response grant
for Hurricane Katrina, contact Greg Guibert at (303) 492-2149; e-mail Quick
Response Program requirements are available on the Web at
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NSF/CMS Funding Available for Hurricane Katrina Research
Disaster Research
Natural Hazards Center, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

The Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems (CMS) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be
accepting proposals from the research community to support reconnaissance teams to enter the Gulf Coast
disaster area to capture data from Hurricane Katrina. Proposals will conform to the rules for the Small Grants for
Exploratory Research (SGER) program and be submitted via FastLane. These funds will be used to fund teams
to document damage and collect perishable data in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Historically,
postdisaster reconnaissance awards for SGERs are in the range of $10,000 to $30,000.

The number of awards will depend on the quality of proposals received and the availability of funds. Proposals
should be submitted via FastLane ( in conformance with the NSF
Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 04-23). The guide is available online at For full consideration, proposals should be submitted by
September 9, 2005.

Prior to submission, the appropriate NSF/CMS program officer must be contacted: Rick Fragaszy for
Geotechnical or Structural Engineering issues or Dennis Wenger for Emergency Management and Response
issues. Fragaszy and Wenger can be reached at (703) 292-8360 or via e-mail at or

Subjects for consideration by the research community include but are not limited to:
1. Meteorological data including
        a. Wind speeds and distribution
        b. Storm surge
2. Damage data including
        a. Spatial damage distribution
        b. Damage to residential structures
        c. Impact damage to larger engineered structures
        d. Damage to the electrical power system including transmission lines, power substations,
        and generating plants
        e. Damage to the levee systems and documentation of the repair efforts; damage to the drainage pump
        f. Damage to coastal bridges and highways, railroads, pipelines
        g. Damage to on and offshore industrial facilities
3. Environmental impact assessment including
        a. Public health and disease effects of the disaster
        b. Petrochemical and other contamination from the storm
        c. Damage to the potable water and wastewater systems
        d. Damage to municipal solid waste and hazardous waste containment facilities
        e. Erosion
4. Emergency Management
        a. Assessment of disaster planning in light of actual events
        b. Effectiveness of warning and evacuation systems
        c. Social vulnerability analyses
        d. Establishment and operation of emergency shelters
        e. Infrastructure restoration management
        f. Search and rescue and delivery of emergency medicine
        g. Urban versus rural effects of the storm
5. Other related issues

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Washington Legislative Report
Meredith R. Inderfurth, Washington Liaison
Rebecca Quinn, Legislative Officer

It’s All About Katrina

        The Congressional schedule for September is askew – due to the hugely significant impact of Hurricane
Katrina. Special appropriations have been finalized with an alacrity seldom seen in Washington.
Congressional committees are evaluating how to consider the many associated issues, from response questions
to overall disaster preparedness to reconstruction issues and to the inclusion of FEMA in the Department of
Homeland Security.

        During the past week, there have been calls for investigation of what went wrong with the recovery
effort and for establishing a bipartisan, bicameral super committee to examine issues and outline policy
recommendations for moving forward. Since then, a consensus seems to have developed that an investigation at
this time would distract too many officials from the work at hand. Further, the leadership of the Democrats in
the House and Senate decided not to go along with the super committee recommendation, partially because the
two parties would not be represented equally but would follow the usual Congressional committee make-up
based on majority and minority status of the parties.

        Plans for a House-Senate Conference to resolve differences in the two versions of 2006 appropriations
for the Department of Homeland Security have been put on hold. Consideration of other appropriations
measures has been slowed although the Appropriations Chairmen are resisting the idea that the remaining bills
will have to be folded into an Omnibus Appropriations bill again this year. There are indications that the DHS
Appropriations Subcommittees could be receptive to adding some provisions to their final bill.

         On the authorizing side, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold
a hearing on September 14th to begin examining hurricane and FEMA issues. In deference to the need for
government officials to be involved in response, the hearing will not include FEMA officials or any state or
local officials directly engaged with the hurricane aftermath. The Committee will hear from former California
Governor Pete Wilson, the former mayor of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Patricia Owens, the former mayor of
New Orleans and President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial, and the Operations Liaison for
the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The House Committee on Homeland
Security is in the process of selecting a new Chairman. Former Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) has left the
Congress due to his appointment as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The House Financial
Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing, also on September
14th, to examine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on financial institutions and their response to the disaster.
The Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity will hold a hearing on September 15 th on housing
needs during hurricane recovery. The House Committee on Government Reform will hold a hearing on
September 15th entitled, “Back to the Drawing Board: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina”.

          The House passed a bill temporarily increasing the borrowing authority for the NFIP from $1.5 billion
to $3.5 billion. The measure passed by a vote of 416-0 on September 8th. The Senate has not yet taken up the
bill, but it is likely to be acted on promptly.

        A number of bills or legislative proposals are being introduced or are in development. One is a
Recovery Action Plan proposed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) which can be found on his website: Appropriations subcommittees and authorizing committees have expressed interest
in considering changes to the Stafford Act. There is discussion of legislation to require that political appointees
to FEMA have emergency management expertise. There is also discussion of legislation to remove FEMA from
the Department of Homeland Security.

What to Look For

         In a situation like this with many Senators and Congressmen/women making suggestions, introducing
legislation and attaching provisions to other legislation, there is opportunity for positive policy and legislative
accomplishments but there is also opportunity for mischief, in the form of often well intentioned but perhaps not
well informed efforts to streamline assistance and reduce “bureaucratic” delays.

        ASFPM’s White Paper will form the basis for recommendations to Members of Congress, FEMA, the
Army Corps of Engineers and others engaged in development of post-disaster plans. At the same time, ASFPM
will be on the lookout for attempts to waive regulations, environmental requirements, floodplain management
requirements and other construction or planning guidance. Although some such actions could be useful in
speeding recovery, retention of most of these provisions will be important to protecting the future safety of lives
and property.

       ASFPM would be grateful for any comments you may have on legislative or executive proposals of
which you become aware.

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Out-of-Sight On-Sites Need Oversight
The Recharge Report, Volume 5, Issue 8, August 2005
The Groundwater Foundation
The second largest threat to groundwater quality in the US comes from septic systems, which is how human
waste is disposed of if a house, school or business isn't hooked up to a municipal sewer system. The US
Environmental Protection Agency has described failing septic systems as "a significant threat to our health and
water quality." Many of us probably think of farms when we think of septic systems, and perhaps assume the
number of systems is shrinking. Instead, we should be thinking of urban sprawl and acreage developments.
According to EPA, one-third of all new housing and commercial developments use septic systems, more than
half of all systems are used in suburban areas, and the systems serve 25% of the US population.

Septic systems, which are more formally known as on-site wastewater treatment systems or decentralized
wastewater treatment systems, can pose a variety of threats to groundwater. One of the most significant is an
increase in nitrogen levels. This can make groundwater unsuitable for drinking, and can pollute surface waters
fed by groundwater with a high nitrogen content. Hood Canal in western Washington, which is home to rich
shellfish beds and fish stocks, has seen an explosion in growth of homes and businesses along the scenic
waterway. The accompanying explosion of septic systems has contributed significant nitrogen to the canal,
which causes algae to bloom and die, which creates low levels of oxygen and fish kills. The Seattle Post-
Intelligencer has this story at Nitrates from
septics are the suspected cause of nitrate spikes in drinking water wells in Cherry Valley, California. The area
will begin a year-long study to determine the exact cause of the nitrate spikes and identify alternate sources of
drinking water, according to a story in The San Bernardino News at,1413,208~12588~3016666,00.html.

One of the reasons people move to an acreage is to do what they please, which historically meant doing what
you liked for drinking water and for wastewater disposal. However, as septics have become a major threat to
groundwater drinking water sources septic regulations are being adopted to protect aquifers. California is taking
a statewide approach, developing regulations that will go into effect mid-2006. The controversial plans
currently include mandated assessments of septics when properties are sold, requiring new owners of septic
systems to monitor the systems regularly, and requiring advanced treatment systems for sensitive or already-
polluted areas. Objections to the proposed regulations focus on the cost of compliance and the fact California is
large and geologically diverse. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on the proposed regulations and threats
from septics at . St. Joseph
County, Indiana now requires that septic tanks be inspected when a home is sold. An inspector is required to

open a septic tank, flush 20 gallons of water through the system, and then check for problems, according to
WNDU-TV at New Mexico has new statewide
regulations that require a minimum lot size of ¾ of an acre for a conventional septic system, and an advanced
treatment system for smaller lots, which will have a requirement for maintenance and periodic sampling. Septic
tanks in New Mexico have caused more groundwater pollution than all other sources combined according to a
news report in the Albuquerque Journal at An
advanced treatment or alternative system is one used where a conventional system is not appropriate, such as
where soils are unsuitable for a conventional system, there are too many systems in an area, or where the system
would be too close to groundwater or surface water. These systems may use sand, peat, or plastics to treat
wastewater. They might use wetlands, lagoons, aerators or disinfection devices. They may include electrical or
mechanical components.

Perhaps the biggest problem with septics systems is the fact they don't receive needed maintenance. This is
partly because they're hidden from view, forgotten by their owners until they fail in some way. It's partly
because folks who grow up in the city and move to the country don't realize they have septic systems. And it's
partly because owners aren't aware their systems need maintenance or owners have incorrect information. Your
editor's personal favorite myth is that adding a dead cat to your septic system will help it have the bacteria it
needs. More common is the myth that some sort of additive is needed for a healthy system. Neither is correct.
Your septic system, and your cat, will be much better off if you follow a few basic rules regarding what wastes
should and shouldn't be added to your system, don't overload your system, and have the tank pumped every two
to five years. Your local health department or Cooperative Extension Service probably has good information on
septic system use and maintenance in your area. The University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension explains
use and maintenance in detail using animated illustrations at
The University of Minnesota Extension Service also has excellent materials, including those for on-site
wastewater treatment systems other than septic systems, at

The Groundwater Foundation has been testing a septic system education program with small businesses and
home owners that are part of a large lake-area development. The effort includes basic information about septics,
their maintenance, and their impact on water resources, along with user-friendly materials to raise awareness of
the need for appropriate septic use and maintenance. For more information about the project see The
Groundwater Foundation's website at

EPA has loads of information about septic systems, including how they work and should be maintained, and
how state and local governments can develop and fund septic system management programs at

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                        Identifying “Waters of the U.S.” After SWANCC
                               Oct. 18-19, 2005, Albuquerque, NM
A joint State/Federal Wetland and Riparian Area Legal Workshop conducted by the Association of State
Wetland Managers, Inc. and the Institute for Wetland Science and Public Policy.

Despite the passage of four years since SWANCC, there is still considerable uncertainty among federal
agencies, and state, tribal, and local governments, consultants, landowners, and others concerning the status of
“waters in the U.S.” There is a need for consistent understanding of SWANCC and other decisions interpreting
“waters of the U.S.” and in the role science can play clarifying the meaning of “navigable”, “tributary”,
“adjacency”, “significant nexus”, and other key terms in deciding whether specific wetlands and waters are
“waters of the U.S.”. They need to know what sorts of scientific and legal arguments may and may not be sound.

This workshop will serve a number of principal goals, including: helping attendees to understand the impact of
SWANCC; examining the legal and scientific issues associated with a number of “problem” contexts such as
riparian zones, ephemeral streams, arroyos; discussing how states, tribes, and local governments may be able to

fill the gaps in Section 404 and related programs by including wetlands in water quality programs; and helping
states, tribes, federal agencies, and other entities identify strategies for developing sound, coordinated,
jurisdictional calls.

For more information, and to register. Visit the Association of State Wetland Managers’ website,

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News from Chapters
A new area we are adding to the newsletter. Chapter Chairs or Chapter newsletter editors are encouraged to
email Anita at with articles or information happening in your Chapter.

    Announcing the 1st General Membership Meeting of the Maryland Association of Floodplain and
                                     Stormwater Managers

The Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers will hold its first general membership
meeting on October 27, 2005 at the National Wildlife Visitor’s Center in Laurel, Maryland. The focus of this
event will center on Map Modernization. Talks will be given on a variety of topics including, an Overview of
Map Modernization, Hydraulics and Hydrology for non-engineers, Hurricane Isabel – follow up and lessons
learned, Letters of Map Revision, and the Community Rating System. A meeting open to the membership will
take place during the day as well. The day-long event will conclude with a happy hour where members can
network, exchange information and reflect on the day.

The newly formed Association includes parties from the private sector, state and local government. Its mission
is to promote the common interest in flood damage abatement; to enhance cooperation and to exchange
information among the various related private organizations, individuals, local, state and federal agencies; to
encourage appropriate and effective approaches to managing the state’s floodplains; and to educate the public
about floodplain management.

Become a member today!

For more information on the 1st General Membership Meeting or on becoming a member of the Maryland
Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers please contact Necolle Maccherone, CFM at

Chapter Donations to Hurricane Katrina Relief
The North Carolina Association of Floodplain Managers (NCAFPM) is donating $1,000 to an appropriate relief
agency to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Louisiana FMA donated $1,000 to the Louisiana State Troopers Association, to help officers who lost their
homes and possessions, but are on duty, nonetheless.
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CFM® Corner
This section will appear in each issue of the Insider. For suggestions on specific topics or questions to be
covered, please send an email to Anita at
CFM Renewal
250 of the 310 ASFPM CFMs who were up for their CFM® renewal July 31, 2005 have been renewed, and 3
were transferred to an Accredited State Program. The other 57 have been decertified and so notified.

                                                      11 on-line courses- Have you checked our website lately to see the latest courses on approved by ASFPM for CECS? We have added more courses and continue to review and
assign CECs. This is a great way to earn your CECs from your home- No travel costs! And by signing up
through the ASFPM web site and using the password "ASFPM" you receive a 10% discount.
Mark your Calendars- CEC and Training Opportunities. The following are some dates of ASFPM
Chapter or State FPM Associations meetings that might be in your area. Check our website for more
Arizona- November 3 & 4, 2005, Prescott
Arkansas- October 2-5, 2005, Springdale
Colorado- September 21-23, 2005, Steamboat Springs
California- September 6-9, 2005, Sacramento
Illinois- March 8 & 9, 2006, Tinley Park
Indiana- September 28-30, 2005, New Harmony
Michigan- February 13-15, 2006, Acme
Minnesota- September 12 & 13, 2005, Moorhead
Missouri- May 11 & 12, 2006, Lake of the Ozarks
New Jersey, November 2, 2005, Somerset
New Mexico- October 12-14, 2005, Tucumcari
New Mexico- June 11-16, 2006, Albuquerque (ASFPM)
Oklahoma- September 19-21, 2005, Lone Wolf
Texas- November 2-4, 2005, Kerrville
Utah- November 3 & 4, 2005, St. George
Virginia- June 3-8, 2007, Norfolk (ASFPM)
Washington- September 12-14, 2005, Bow

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Floodplain Manager’s Calendar
Below are just several of the upcoming conferences and workshops. For a full listing, visit our online calendar at,%20Calendar/calendar.asp

                                 OKFMA Annual Conference,             Oklahoma Floodplain Manager’s
  September 19 – 21, 2005        Quartz Mountain State Park,                     Association
                                       Lone Wolf, OK                 
                                                                       Arkansas Floodplain Managers
                                   AFMA Fall Conference,
    October 3 – 5, 2005                                                          Association
                                      Springdale, AR
                                                                  Association of State Wetland Managers
                                 Wetland and Riparian Area
                                                                  Institute for Wetland Science and Public
                                 Legal Workshop Identifying
   October 18 – 19, 2005                                                            Policy
                                  “Waters of the U.S.” After
                                 First Annual Meeting of the
                                  Maryland Association of
                                                                  Maryland Association of Floodplain and
                                 Floodplain and Stormwater
      October 27, 2005                                                    Stormwater Managers
                                 Managers, USGS Patuxent
                                  Wildlife Research Center,
                                        Beltsville, MD

                                                                      Arizona Floodplain Management
                                   AFMA Fall Conference,
    November 3-4, 2005                                                          Association
                                 Hassayamp Inn, Prescott, AZ

                                    53rd IAEM Annual
                               Conference & EMEX Exhibit        International Association of Emergency
   November 14-16, 2005         - Emergency Management:                        Managers
                                Local, Regional and Global        
                                  Successes, Phoenix, AZ

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For more details on the jobs listed below, and a full listing of all jobs, please visit our online job corner at

Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
Natural Resource Specialist 4 (NRS 4)
(Floodplain/Natural Hazards Mapping Specialist)
$3,773 - $5,261 Monthly

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is recruiting for the position of
Floodplain/Natural Hazards Mapping Specialist (NRS 4). This is a limited duration position expected to end on
June 30, 2007. This position works out of the main DLCD office in Salem, Oregon. The Department has a staff
of approximately 70 employees.

The primary purpose of the Floodplain/Natural Hazards Mapping Specialist (NRS 4) position is to provide state
assistance and guidance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Map Modernization
initiative of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The incumbent will be responsible for NFIP map
modernization and related natural hazard mapping support activities, in accordance with grant agreements
between the Department and FEMA. The incumbent shall also work to build and maintain program capacity to
provide digital data for floodplain and related natural hazards management purposes.

This recruitment will be used to establish a list of qualified candidates to fill this position.

This position exists as part of the Department’s Planning Services Division. This Division includes staff for the
Economic Development Planning Team, Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM), the Natural
Hazards Team, and Department specialists dealing with urban and rural development, farm/forest land
protection, aggregate resources, and natural resource management. The purpose of the Planning Services
Division (PSD) is to provide program support, technical assistance, and policy and subject matter expertise in
implementing the Agency’s primary responsibilities including: 1) working with local governments to update
local comprehensive land use plans and regulations; 2) working with local governments to plan for development
that supports Oregon’s economy and community’s quality of life; 3) analyzing land use policy and providing
guidance to local governments, citizens, planning professionals, legislative leaders, the Governor’s office and
the Land Conservation and Development Commission, 4) collaborating with other state agencies through the
Governor’s Economic Revitalization Team to link policies, programs and actions related to transportation, land
use, economic development, affordable housing and environmental protection; and 5) providing technical
expertise on land use planning issues associated with economic development.

For more information and to apply, please visit the Oregon Jobs Website.

Smith Engineering

Position: Water Resources Project Manager

B.S. degree or higher in civil engineering and be a licensed P.E. in Illinois. Need 10+ years experience in Water

Resources. Must have hydraulics and hydrologic modeling background. Ability to organize own work, meet
deadlines and address details. Knowledge of Northeast Illinois development and permitting a plus.

The successful applicant will be responsible for adding to the success of the Water Resources discipline in our
McHenry, Illinois office. You will be accountable for project management, promoting the business and the
development of personnel within the department. Previous staff management and experience with GIS a plus.

For immediate consideration, please e-mail or fax your resume to:
Fax # 1-815-385-0988 attention Peggy.
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