Case Study: Securing FEMA Public Assistance for Wastewater Plant Recovery After Hurricane Ian

In this case study, we explore the process of BRC assisting Gasparilla Island Water Association (GIWA) in recovering FEMA Public Assistance for Wastewater issues following the devastation of Hurricane Ian. We will outline the challenges faced by the water association, the steps taken to navigate the FEMA assistance program, and the successful outcome achieved through diligent efforts.

A water sewer plant that recieved FEMA public assistance for wastewater after Hurricane Ian.

The Story of Gasparilla Island Water Association

The water treatment plant, located in a coastal region of Florida, was severely impacted by Hurricane Ian, a deadly Category 5 hurricane that struck the Florida coast in September 2022. The hurricane caused significant damage to the plant’s infrastructure, rendering it inoperable and posing a severe threat to public health and the environment. The plant’s management realized the importance of seeking FEMA public assistance for wastewater issues to facilitate the recovery process and contracted with BRC for assistance.

Upon assessing the damage, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the plant’s infrastructure, equipment, and systems. The damage included substantial flooding, structural damage, electrical failures, and equipment destruction. We collaborated with the plant’s management to compile detailed documentation, photographs, and cost estimates of the required repairs and replacements. We also quantified and documented costs already incurred by GIWA cleaning up debris (FEMA Public Assistance Category A claims) and emergency protective measures (FEMA Public Assistance Category B claims) to prepare the facility for the event and then stabilize it during and afterward.

Understanding the intricacies of FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program was crucial for the successful recovery of funding. We educated and familiarized our client with the program’s guidelines, regulations, and application procedures. This allowed us to effectively collaborate and advocate for the wastewater plant’s eligibility for financial assistance.
With the damage assessment completed and an understanding of the FEMA PA program, we prepared a thorough and compelling application on behalf of the wastewater plant. The application included a detailed description of the damage, cost estimates for repairs and replacements, and supporting documentation.

Why They Chose Berquist Recovery Consultants

We established open lines of communication with FEMA representatives to ensure a smooth and efficient application process. Regular meetings and conference calls were conducted to clarify any uncertainties, provide additional documentation as required, and address any questions or concerns raised by FEMA.

Throughout the application process, we meticulously complied with FEMA’s documentation requirements. We ensured that all invoices, receipts, engineering reports, and other supporting evidence were accurate, organized, and readily accessible. This attention to detail helped expedite the assessment and review process.

After the initial review, FEMA requested additional documentation and revisions to the application. We promptly addressed these requests and provided all necessary information to strengthen the case for funding. When faced with disagreements over certain eligible costs, we engaged in negotiations with FEMA representatives to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.


Through diligent efforts and effective advocacy, we were able to secure The necessary funding for the wastewater treatment plant’s recovery. The approved funding covered a significant portion of the repairs, replacement equipment, and restoration of the plant’s infrastructure. The financial assistance facilitated the plant’s reopening and mitigation against future hazards, allowing it to resume normal operations and safeguard public health and the environment.

This case study highlights the importance of prompt and comprehensive documentation, understanding the FEMA assistance program, open communication with FEMA representatives, and diligent compliance with regulations. It also underscores the value of persistence and effective negotiation skills when faced with challenges or disputes during the application process.

Recovering funding from FEMA after a hurricane can be a complex and demanding process. By leveraging our knowledge, expertise, and attention to detail, BRC was able to successfully navigate the FEMA assistance program and secure critical funding for the wastewater treatment plant’s recovery. This case study demonstrates the positive impact that careful planning, diligent execution, and effective collaboration can have in helping organizations restore vital infrastructure in the aftermath of a natural disaster.