Council look at flood study next steps

Hammond City Council members listen to Professional Engineering Inc.’s presentation about the city’s flood study.

With Phase 1 of a flood study nearly complete, Hammond City Council members will soon need to decide about funding the final two phases of the project.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Andre Monnot, of Principal Engineering LLC, presented an update on the status of the city’s flood study and letter of map revision. The flood study was started with the hope that FEMA’s estimated base flood elevations for Hammond are not as accurate as they could be for certain parts of the city because of its unique area.

“If we are successful in lowering base floor, you might see lower required floor elevations in new developments, lower flood insurance rates for existing development, elimination of deficient status for many structures presently below base flood elevation, and greater available land for development,” Monnot said.

According to Principal Engineering, around 98 percent of task one – data gathering and preliminary analysis – has been completed. What remains is the reassurance from FEMA about whether or not what is being done, as of phase one, meets its standards.

Monnot said it has been difficult reaching FEMA Region 9 officials.

The firm has received a ticket number from FEMA Region 9 and is awaiting a conference with the FEMA Map Service Center in Arlington, Virginia.

The survey, basin definition, data analysis, work maps/ data input are complete, according to the company.

Thus far, $81,440 has been spent on Task 1.

Tasks two and three, which the council has not authorized, would be hydrologic / hydraulic modeling for $226,550 and mapping, report and LOMR application for $65,980.

Council members asked if the flood study included residential properties thought to not be able to flood but that did flood with Hurricane Ida. Questions were also raised as to if the result, if accepted by FEMA, could negatively impact some residents.

Monnot revealed that past occurrences would be taken into account when projecting the models. He also explained that from previous experiences most people benefit, but there many be a few that may be moved to a worse flood zone, depending on what the end data reveals.

No action was taken.

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