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Levee Safety

National Levee Safety

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a National Levee Safety Program.

FEMA Levee Certification and Flood Mapping

Subsequent to the levee failures caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began to implement certification requirements for both federal and non-federal levees and floodwalls. The levee certification requirements coincide with FEMA's effort to modernize its National Flood Insurance Map Program (NFIP). A link to Section 65.10 (44 CFR 65.10) of the Code of Federal Regulations, which provides FEMA requirements for levee certification is provided at this website.

In accordance with Federal Regulations, for the purposes of flood hazard and risk mapping, FEMA will only recognize those levee systems that meet and continue to meet certain minimum design operation and maintenance standards. Those municipalities that do not meet the FEMA standards will no longer be considered protected.

Levee Certification Requirements

The certification will require a complete engineering analysis of the levee system. Sponsors must certify that levees and floodwalls provide a minimum freeboard above the 100-year flood. This work will involve the submission of as-built plans, an engineering survey to confirm top elevations of the levees and floodwalls, and a new hydrologic/hydraulic study utilizing state-of-the-art computer software. In addition, an engineering analysis of the levee's structural stability and a geotechnical analysis for evaluating potential movement, settlement or seepage through or beneath the levee are required. An operation and maintenance plan must also be provided. All of this technical information must be sealed by a registered Professional Engineer. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a draft Engineering Technical Letter that provides more detailed guidance on levee certification requirements.