The Pocahontas County Commission’s June 28 special session included two and a half hours of informational discussions about the county’s present and future flood maps. The discussion focused on how those maps might affect the commission’s proposed two-acre rubble disposal site at the East Fork Industrial Park in Frank.
Pocahontas County Flood Plain Manager Donald McNeel and State Coordinator of the West Virginia National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Chuck Grishaber made a presentation using the online West Virginia Flood Tool maps.
A detailed flood map of the East Fork Industrial Park was displayed and showed that parts of that county property were clearly mark- ed as being in the existing flood plain. Commission President Walt Helmick said such areas would be precluded by the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board from being approved for use as a disposal site. Adjoining areas were shaded in a light greenish-blue on the map. McNeel said he believes those shaded areas are being considered for future flood plain expansion.
While the proposed disposal site is not in the current flood zone, it is in the shaded future expansion area. McNeel and Grishaber believe the shaded areas might also be off limits as a disposal site, but they were not sure. They looked for alternate two-acre sites in the industrial park that would be out of both the current and proposed flood zones, and would still meet the requirements of the State Solid Waste Management Board. The site must also be located at least 300 feet from any river, stream or pond. They could not locate any alternate site which would meet that 300 foot requirement. It was suggested that the county could apply to the Solid Waste Management Board for a variance from that requirement.
Other potential industrial development sites on the property that the commission has been considering are all clearly outside of restricted flood plain areas.
They did receive some other good news about the disposal site when the commission joined a live Internet FEMA Risk Map of Pocahontas County Kick-off Meeting, hosted by FEMA Region III Project Manager Bob Pierson and Brandon Cramer, GIS Analyst with Wood Resilient Environment.
The meeting was held to obtain input from, and answer questions posed by the commission and other local officials about FEMA’s new flood plain mapping project for the county.
FEMA authorities said the earlier mentioned blue-green areas at the Industrial Park are unofficial and not currently restricted areas, and they might or might not be labeled as flood plain after the new mapping project is completed several years from now.
McNeel, Chuck and the FEMA authorities all agreed that the new FEMA flood plain maps, when completed, will be much more accurate than the 10-year-old flood maps currently in place. They explained that this is because of the use of newly created and greatly improved mapping technology and techniques such as: High Elevation Data Scanning known as LIDAR; new river flood studies; new hydrologic and hydraulic conditions; and other technologies not available when the current flood maps were created.
At the end of the commission meeting, Helmick suggested that they proceed with the current location for the disposal site and let the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board make the final decision as to whether the site is in compliance with all of its regulations.