Public update Aug. 15 on Hanapepe, Waimea levees

LIHU‘E — Community meetings have been scheduled for Aug. 15 to provide updates on issues pertaining to the Hanapepe and Waimea levees, including the de-accreditation of the structures, recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspections of the levees and the status of the repair on the Hanapepe levee, a news release states.

Representatives from the county Department of Public Works and Civil Defense Agency, along with officials from USACE and FEMA, will be present to provide information and answer questions. The first meeting is from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Waimea Neighborhood Center; the second is from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center.

In 2009 the USACE was hired by the county to perform hydrology, hydraulic and risk and uncertainty studies on the two levees in order to determine if the levees could maintain their FEMA certification against a “100 year flood” event. The levees were found not to be in compliance with FEMA height requirements and could not be certified.

As such, FEMA designated the Waimea and Hanapepe levees as “Provisionally Accredited Levees” and initiated a map revision to re-designate certain areas on the landward side of the levee as flood prone. As FEMA works toward completing its updated Flood Insurance Study report and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map, FEMA recommends that the County implement outreach efforts to inform affected property owners that an assessment of the levee is underway.

Outreach meetings have previously been held in 2009 and 2010 to inform affected residents about the de-certification and its impacts.

During this re-assessment period, FEMA encourages the purchase of flood insurance, even though coverage is not federally required for areas landward of the PAL. Mandatory flood insurance purchase of the NFIP will apply in affected area when the updated DFIRM panels become effective. 

“We remain committed to continuing an open dialogue with the community about these issues and to assist in any way we can to insure life and property is protected against the unexpected,” County Engineer Larry Dill said in the release.

Special accommodations and sign language interpreters and interpreters for non-English speaking persons are available upon request five days prior to the meeting date. To request an accommodation, contact the Department of Public Works at 241-4996 or via email at mchan@kauai.gov.

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