District Receives FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant

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District awarded $2 million in grants to replace a Sudden Valley water reservoir

The Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District (District) has been awarded a $1,710,750 Hazard Mitigation Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the replacement of its Division 7 water reservoir located in the Sudden Valley community. When combined with $285,125 in grant funding from the Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department, the District will be responsible for funding the remaining $285,125 (12.5%) of the $2,281,000 project.

The existing reservoir is a one million gallon welded-steel water reservoir constructed by the developer of the Sudden Valley community in 1970. Recent analyses of the reservoir found significant structural deficiencies in the reservoir’s ability to withstand a substantial seismic event. It was also found that the reservoir is significantly oversized relative to the capacity needed for full community build-out. A subsequent analysis identified replacement of the reservoir with two 185,000-gallon reservoirs meeting current seismic design standards and outfitted with the ShakeAlert® earthquake early warning system would create water system redundancy and resiliency, as well as improve day-to-day water quality and pressure. Design and permitting has recently been initiated, with construction anticipated in 2023.

Board of Commissioners President Laura Abele said, “The District is committed to proactive maintenance, and when necessary, replacement of our infrastructure to ensure continuity of service following a major natural disaster. We are extremely grateful to FEMA and the Washington State Military Department for funding a significant portion of the replacement of our Division 7 reservoir, which reduces the fiscal burden on the District’s capital program budget, and in turn, our rate payers.”

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