Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Projects Forwarded to FEMA to Reduce Impact of Future Disasters

Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker on Nov. 9 announced that seven municipal projects to reduce the impact of future disasters on Pennsylvania communities will be forwarded to the federal government for approval and funding.

"By submitting these projects, we open the door for nearly $6 million in federal, state and local money to flow directly into Pennsylvania's communities to help lessen the impact of future disasters on our citizens," Lt. Gov. Schweiker, chairman of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council, said. "The funding will be used to purchase more than 70 properties in the floodplains, restore the land to its natural state and move residents out of harm's way."

The federal hazard mitigation grant program provides funding to reduce the impact of future disasters. Federal funding for this program is based on 15 percent of the disaster assistance provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following the September 1999 Hurricane Floyd flooding. Hazard mitigation projects may include acquiring and demolishing properties; elevating structures above the floodplain; making erosion protection and culvert improvements; and constructing levees and dams, floodwalls, and debris basins. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the approved project cost. Gov. Tom Ridge has authorized the state to provide 22 percent of the non-federal share. As a partner in the project, communities will be required to fund the remaining 3 percent of the project cost.

According to Bob Churchman, acting director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), this is the second major application of the federal hazard mitigation program in Pennsylvania. Since 1996, the Ridge Administration has purchased and removed from the flood plain more than 500 properties across the Commonwealth.

"This important program provides federal support to help break the cycle of disasters by reducing the impact of repeat disasters on residents as well as taxpayers," Churchman said. "This is one of the many significant improvements made to the federal disaster assistance program by the Stafford Act, which was developed and sponsored by Congressman Ridge in 1988."

Churchman said that the interest from Southeastern Pennsylvania in this new program was evidenced by the 15 applications filed by municipal officials. The total project cost of the submitted notices of interest was $13.4 million.

"We expect to have between $4 million and $4.6 million in federal funding available," Churchman said. "Clearly, community interest and need far exceed the money available."

The selection of applications forwarded to FEMA was the result of a comprehensive review by staff from several departments and agencies. Each project application was evaluated based on its own merits and the impact it would have in reducing the threat of future disasters on a community.

The list of hazard mitigation projects includes:

BUCKS COUNTY - $2,395,045

Hulmeville - $937,525 for the acquisition and clearance of 11 residential properties.

Lower Southampton - $1,012,520 for the acquisition and clearance of seven residential properties.

Northampton (partial)- $445,000 for the acquisition and clearance of five residential properties.


Colwyn (Phase I&II) - $1,140,348 for the acquisition and clearance of 22 residential properties.

Springfield - $1,120,810 for the acquisition and clearance of six residential properties.

Upland Boro - $374,896 for the acquisition and clearance of 8 residential properties.


Collegeville - $921,825 for the acquisition and clearance of 12 residential properties.

<> For more information, contact Marko Bourne, PEMA Press Office, at 717 651-2139.