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Prepare for Funding: Document Damage and Repair Costs to Your Water or Wastewater Utility

On this page:

Before a disaster: Document pre-disaster conditions of your utility

  • Take photographs of your critical infrastructure
  • Document current insurance policies and emergency procurement procedures
  • Securely and safely store important records, such as photographs, work orders, and maintenance records, that demonstrate the current conditions of your treatment, distribution and collection systems

Review EPA’s Reimbursement Tips for Water Sector Emergency Response and Recovery

After a disaster: Document the damage

  • How the damage occurred
  • How the repair or replacement was conducted 
  • How much repairs cost

How to document damage

  • Complete damage forms and take photographs while field crews are conducting initial damage inspections
  • Collect information at the end of each work shift
  • Label the photographs and match them to damage assessment forms

See also "Currently in a Disaster? Critical Actions for Water and Wastewater Utilities to Document Damage, Costs, and Repairs".

Maintain thorough records and practice strict accounting to track costs of repair work

Examples of recordkeeping include:
  • Accounting codes to track work related to the disaster
  • Detailed documentation of damage assessments
  • Accounting procedures to track invoices, receipts and expenses
  • Records of work performed (including vendors' work), equipment usage, personnel time and vehicle gas usage and mileage

When implementing your recordkeeping and accounting procedures, make sure your data is consistent with any reporting requirements by your local or state primacy agencies.

Example: East Valley Water District

EVWD in California obtained more than $400,000 for costs associated with the Old Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest. EVWD recognized that it could have completed the application process more efficiently if the output from its financial system was in a format similar to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Grant form.

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