County to enforce flood plan
by Paisley Boston
Feb 09, 2014 | 2984 views | 0 0 comments | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emergency Management Director Bill Quinton is urging citizens to cooperate with county efforts to ensure that flood compliances are in tact.

According to Quinton, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency recently inspected the west side of the level and have determined that the county is facing a few compliance issues.

"We are getting ready to do the enforcement part of the flood plan issues that we found. They have pretty much inspected the entire levee and now we are getting ready to make sure that all places in Bolivar County are in compliance with the county's flood plan," said Quinton.

Quinton said some of the issues range from permits, homes that have been built below the Base Flood Evaluation and bathrooms and living quarters below the BFE. "If these structures were not built before 1989 then they are out of compliance. We have to enforce the flood plan laws and the flood plan ordinance," added Quinton.

According to FEMA, BFE is the computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood.

It is the regulatory requirement for the elevation or flood proofing of structures.

The relationship between the BFE and a structure's elevation determines the flood insurance premium.

"These laws have been mandated by FEMA and MEMA and if in fact we fail be in compliance then Bolivar County will be taken out of the flood insurance program," he said.

"We are currently making efforts to advise citizens about the issues at hand so that they can get in compliance with the law. We do have some citizens that have done some substantial improvement below the BFE but they did not come and get permits – there are just a lot of issues," he continued.

Quinton said that if citizens fail to address the problem, then the county could be forced to take them to court.

"We would rather not do that but if we are forced to do so then we have no choice because we are in fact monitored by MEMA and FEMA," said Quinton.

"We are asking that citizens do not shoot the messenger, all we are doing is enforcing the laws that stand and whether or not you agree or disagree, we do not have a choice," he added.

Quinton said that the severity of corrections range from venting issues to simply chaining down butane tanks.

"The law requires that if you have a storage area below the BFE then you have to have one square inch of venting per square foot of wall," he continued.

Although some of the issues may seem minute, the law requires compliance issues to be handled by licensed professionals with purchased professional material.

"The law requires that citizens get a licensed contractor, plumber or electrician to survey the area that is below BFE and get them to give a quote for the professional material and the labor," said Quinton.

"Individuals cannot buy the material and do the work themselves – even if an individual decides to do the work, they are still required to have an estimate from a licensed plumber, electrician or contractor," he added.

Quinton also said that he is knows that some individuals may not be able to make these changes due to monetary issues but he is simply doing his job.

"I am sure that there are people who may not be able to afford the repairs and I am very sympathetic towards that but it is the law and there is nothing that we can do to change that," he added.

"There are people who cannot afford health care but it is required as well," continued Quinton.

Letters will be sent out to citizens in places that have been inspected and found to be below the BFE.

"We ask that you cooperate and do your part in taking care of the problems so that we do not have to take things through the court system," he said.