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Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, California, Provided FEMA Incorrect Information for Its $33 Million Project

Executive Summary

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, through its main engineering contractor (Contractor C), presented incorrect data and misinformed FEMA in obtaining a Federal grant of more than $33 million for its pipeline replacement and relocation project. Authority officials wanted to move the pipeline outside of the Mojave Riverbed, but noted the high cost to do so. Authority officials knew that replacing and relocating the pipeline was the most expensive repair option, as their Contractors A and C informed them. However, through Contractor C, Authority officials repeatedly provided FEMA incorrect data that made Alternative 2 appear to be the least expensive. Based on the incorrect information Authority officials provided, FEMA funded $11 million for the replacement and relocation project in 2013 and an additional $22 million in 2014, a total of $33 million. We question the entire $33 million as ineligible because the Authority did not comply with Federal regulations, and FEMA policies and procedures, in preparing cost estimates for FEMA.

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