Sunday, July 8, 2012
Floodplain Coordinators in West Virginia
To participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, a political entity has to have a floodplain ordinance that has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Every county in the state has a floodplain coordinator to administer its ordinance, according to engineer and West Virginia Floodplain Management Association co-founder and Secretary Jerry Gilbert, as does nearly every incorporated village, town or city.
Any development in a FEMA-designated 100-year floodplain has to be permitted through a floodplain coordinator. That includes concrete pads or other structures as well as fill and stream crossings.
A gas producer who thinks its proposed site might be in a floodplain should contact the county or municipality to find out if a permit is needed.
In Monongalia County, Floodplain Coordinator Mike Paugh's office requires what he called "a complete mock-up" showing what will be developed and illustrating how the 100-year flood elevation will be preserved.
"In the drilling instance, it's mostly a concrete pad with some temporary structures that can be removed, so the course of water is going to flow over that pad, through the equipment and keep going on," he said. "Technically you're not altering the 100-year flood elevation and you have to show that you're not going to alter it."
For many West Virginia streams, flood studies have never been done, he said, so his office also asks the company to have a "hydrologic and hydraulic" study completed to accurately determine the 100-year flood elevation.
In Doddridge County, the interim Floodplain Coordinator is Dan Wellings, owner of a local surveying firm in Doddridge County.