GAO Seeks Investigation on Flood Risks to 1,300 Sites

The spate of hurricanes that struck the U.S. in 2017 prompted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an investigation, which a car stuck in a flood would determine flooding risks to human and environmental health.

The study will cover more than 1,300 sites under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program. GAO launched the study in response to a request from 10 U.S. senators.

Investigative Nature

The senators said there is a need to determine the impact of natural disasters in the country, which have occurred more frequently in previous years. Flooding poses a big risk to public health, as more than two million people live near 327 Superfund sites. These sites are suspected to be flood-prone areas or vulnerable to increasing sea levels.

EPA created a special group that will oversee clean-up efforts for Superfund sites, including those that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. While the government aims to reduce the risks of flooding, homeowners are just as responsible for protecting their own properties. However, many residents in some states, such as Utah, struggle with expensive bills due to the lack of insurance.

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance helps Utah residents cover the cost of water damage repair and other types of restoration work. Despite its importance, less than 1% of households or just around 4,000 homes in the state have insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Barbara Denver.

Denver said that more Utahns need insurance not just to save on costs, but also due to the increased likelihood of flooding in some areas. In Northern Utah, for instance, a lack of storm water infrastructure contributes to a higher risk of flooding.

It is true that storms are beyond our control, but there is no excuse to plan properly even before a natural disaster occurs.