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FEMA: West Pittston Violated Flood Regulations

Posted on: 4:32 pm, July 3, 2012, by , updated on: 04:36pm, July 3, 2012

WEST PITTSTON — Last September, rains from storms Irene and Lee pushed the Susquehanna River to historical levels in West Pittston.  Hundreds of homes flooded in some places that never had water before.

Ten months later, work continues on the flooded areas. And while many people continue to work on their homes, an unexpected letter arrived in the mailboxes of some of the victims.

FEMA says West Pittston officials didn’t take the proper steps following the flood, such as assessing damage and issuing permits. And according to the letter, failure to comply with FEMA will result in the borough being placed on probation on October 1. That means National Flood Insurance holders will pay a $50 penalty.

“Well I think we’re all concerned because we’re not sure what this means,” said Liane Winsock, one of the flood victims in West Pittston.

As work continues on Winsock’s home, she wonders what this letter means.

“It`s not a good thing but we are all working hard getting our homes to where we can live in them once again.  And to have this come in the mail? Yes, I think we are concerned about what this means for our whole community,” added Winsock.

According to FEMA, if the borough doesn’t take action, they could be suspended, which would mean no federal grants, loans or guarantees to victims of future floods and no national flood insurance.

In order to comply with the FEMA regulations, West Pittston will have to train the staff to use FEMA maps and permits, require and review permits and violations, and identify substantially damaged properties.

West Pittston borough officials said they will not talk about the contents of the letter until a meeting is held next week.  The people who live in this community say that just leaves them with more questions.

“Somebody has to give answers somewhere and that`s all we want to know. What has to be done,” said Bob Kessler, another West Pittston flood victim. 

The meeting is scheduled to be held next Tuesday evening at the West Pittston borough hall.

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