The Look in Brief

Metro government sues FEMA over 2010 Nashville flood relief

By: - July 25, 2022 1:17 pm
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Metro Nashville is suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency over $11 million in federal assistance it never received after the 2010 flood. 

In May 2010, 13.57 inches of rain was measured during a 36-hour period in the city, according to the Nashville Weather Service. The Cumberland River crested at 52 feet, the highest level on record. 

The flood damaged 11,000 properties and displaced 10,000 Nashvillians. In total, the rain caused $2 billion in private property damage with an additional $120 million in damage to city infrastructure. 

FEMA can provide municipal assistance through the Stafford Act after the sitting president declares a disaster declaration. 

The city faced a significant impact because of the floodwater to the K.R. Harrington Water Treatment Facility, which was closed for a month following the flood.  Floodwaters also affected Metro Transit Authority buildings, which were contaminated with gasoline, oil and sewage. 

According to the suit, a paperwork snafu with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency caused FEMA’s  initial refusal to pay out. Through an appeals process, FEMA has still denied the Metro the money, which Nashville officials had planned to use to help with damage and pay for future flood mitigation. 

Since filing for relief money in 2010, Metro has continued to ask FEMA for the $11 million the appeals process. According to the suit, Metro is ultimately asking the court to consider the merits of the Nashville flood and award the city with the money. 


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