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Assessing Risk to Critical Facilities in the Floodplain

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Measures such as Executive Order (11988, Floodplain Management, issued May 1977) and other emerging local and federal regulations make it increasingly difficult to locate critical facilities, such as water utilities, in a floodplain. Nevertheless, there are many facilities in the United States still located in such hazard-prone areas.

A challenge for water utilities already existing in the floodplain is how to properly assess flood risk and prioritize mitigation measures. Accurate risk assessment and effective prioritization of resources to address risks is often accomplished, in part, using benefit-cost analysis. The societal value of a water utility is mostly in the mission of the utility and the service it provides, as opposed to the replacement cost of the structure. The traditional three part risk assessment process is to characterize assets, characterize hazards, and assess vulnerability. While this process is applicable to a water or wastewater treatment plant, it is best approached from a service-based, system-level perspective which focuses primarily on maintaining essential functions and components.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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