Some Northern Virginia counties, including Fairfax and Arlington, may be eligible for federal aid after a rainstorm caused millions of dollars in building and road damage early last month, according to Seamus Mooney, the emergency management coordinator for Fairfax County.
Homeowners, renters and businesses will likely have access to low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the county might be eligible for some reimbursements for the costs of the damages, Mooney told the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in their meeting this week.
To be eligible for SBA loans, the county or an adjacent county must have 25 properties with 40 percent or more of their damage uninsured. Arlington, which borders Fairfax, found in its damage assessment more than 25 properties that meet the criteria and has requested a disaster declaration. If Arlington receives approval, then Fairfax also would be eligible.
In Fairfax, there were 277 entries into the disaster damage database totaling $6.8 million worth of damage, according to initial assessments from the property owners. Fairfax and other local jurisdiction have been working together to do damage assessments to determine who is eligible for the federal aid.
The county received significant damage to roads, but much of the road damage occurred on state highways, which would not assist in granting access to federal funds. To be eligible for federal damage assistance, the county would have to have had roughly $4 million in damages, but the county has only tallied about $2 million worth of eligible costs up to this point.
The Virginia Department of Transportation spent about $6 million in road damage for the county, including $4 million just on Kirby Road to rebuild a section that received heavy damage. Although most roads are now accessible, some are still closed because of the damage.
“This rapid rainfall caused a significant amount of street flooding as you can imagine,” Mooney said. “Most of the roads flooded temporarily and were able to be reopened, but some, including Prosperity Avenue, Kirby Lane and Swinks Mill Road experienced significant damage and could be closed for some time.”
Some parts of the county received about five inches of rain or more over the course of 1½ hours after the quick storm passed through the region causing the damage on July 8.