Clock ticking to reform flood insurance

Written by eliearaj on . Posted in News

Congress finally could be forced to make fundamental changes to the federal flood insurance program this summer, and Floridians could be unfairly treated and face soaring premiums unless the conversation changes. Florida homeowners have paid far more than their share in premiums, and the rush to raise costs even higher is out of proportion to Tampa Bay property values. The state’s congressional delegation should take a leading role in pushing for more reasonable changes, and there isn’t much time.

The reason for the newfound urgency can be found in the spending bill signed into law last week by President Donald Trump. Congress has routinely kept the National Flood Insurance Program going by tying its fate to spending bills that have to be passed to keep the federal government running. But this time, lawmakers funded the government through Sept. 30 but extended the flood insurance program only through July 31. That means the pressure is on to overhaul the program within the next four months or risk it going out of business at least temporarily.

Nobody wants that to happen. If the program lapsed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would stop selling and renewing policies across Florida and the nation. That would paralyze the real estate market in Tampa Bay, because homes in neighborhoods where flood insurance is required for federally backed mortgages could not be bought or sold. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors calculates about 40,000 home closings a month could be affected if federal flood insurance isn’t available.

Yet changes to the flood insurance program approved by the House in November and awaiting action by the Senate are untenable for Floridians. The legislation would raise the minimum increase in flood insurance premiums on homes built at least 43 years ago, or before modern flood maps were drawn, by 60 percent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that would affect 330,000 homes nationwide, and that would include thousands of older Tampa Bay homes that are far from being mansions. The legislation also would increase other fees and surcharges, and the CBO says overall premiums for flood insurance would go up while the number of homes covered would go down. That flies in the face of a basic tenet of insurance: spreading the risk.


Applied Sciences adds two more Certified Floodplain Managers

Written by eliearaj on . Posted in News

At the Florida Floodplain Managers Association (FFMA) conference in April 2017, Elie Araj and Nick Charnas both passed the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) exam and successfully obtained their Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) designation.  Congratulations to Elie and Nick!

ASFPM describes the CFM role with great vision and responsibility: “The role of the nation’s floodplain managers is expanding due to increases in disaster losses, the emphasis on mitigation to alleviate the cycle of damage-rebuild-damage, and a recognized need for professionals to adequately address these issues. This certification program will lay the foundation for ensuring that highly qualified individuals are available to meet the challenge of breaking the damage cycle and stopping its negative drain on the nation’s human, financial and natural resources.” Applied Sciences is committed to and supportive of both FFMA and ASFPM.

Information regarding the CFM program including future exam dates can be found at Information regarding the Florida Chapter of ASFPM can be found at

Applied Sciences welcomes Matthew Goolsby, PE

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Matthew Goolsby, PE, CFM Joins Applied Sciences

Applied Sciences is pleased to announce the addition of Matthew Goolsby, PE, CFM to its team of civil and environmental professionals.

As  Senior Water Resources Engineer, Mr. Goolsby will lead Applied Sciences in stormwater master planning, Low Impact Development (LID) design, water resources modeling (ICPR4, SWMM5, XPSWMM), floodplain management and permitting. He will also apply his extensive FEMA expertise to array of topics that include risk mapping, assessment, and planning (Risk MAP), Letter of Map Change (LOMC) review and development, Hazard Mitigation Grant Assistance, and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) support.

Mr. Goolsby holds a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, both from the University of Central Florida. His experience covers a spectrum of large and small scale water resources projects from residential stormwater conveyance projects to 10,000 acre ecosystem restoration project in the everglades. He has also been deeply involved with flood risk reduction projects resulting from Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, and promotes climate resilient best management practices (BMPs). Mr. Goolsby is a frequent presenter at state and local conferences on topics ranging from ecosystem restoration to guidance on addressing TMDLs. Mr. Goolsby is a much welcomed asset for our clients and our company.


Here we Grow Again: Nick Charnas, PE Joins Applied Sciences

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Appnicklied Sciences welcomes Nick Charnas, III, PE, CFM, MBA, as the latest addition to its downtown Tampa headquarters.

As Vice President, Mr. Charnas will help lead operations, execution, and strategic growth of Applied Sciences’ civil and environmental engineering practice in Florida.  He will coordinate the lifecycle management of major water resources projects, from planning, permitting, and engineering, through construction, operations and maintenance.

“Nick has a robust and forward-looking perspective on stormwater planning and engineering,” said Elie Araj, PE, CFM, D.WRE, President of Applied Sciences. “I am excited about the technical excellence, energy, and commitment that he brings to complement Applied Sciences’ deep bench of stormwater expertise.”

Mr. Charnas has an MBA and a Master of Engineering degree, both from the University of Florida, as well as Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering and in Land Survey Engineering from Purdue University.  Mr. Charnas has led the engineering and management of water resources projects for several municipalities across Florida, and has supported local governments with the development of long-range projects. He is an outstanding addition to our deep bench of professionals who will add greatly to Applied Sciences’ growth and success!

Applied Sciences Upgrades Web Site for Mobile Devices

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Applied Sciences Consulting Inc. Upgrades Web Site

Applied Sciences is pleased to announce our upgraded Web site, at Our newly designed Web site is mobile-ready for tablets and smartphones. We hope our new website experience makes it easier for you to stay updated with our company advancements, client  achievements, and staffing news.

At Applied Sciences Consulting Inc, we are committed to developing cost-saving sustainable infrastructure for our clients. If you have comments and questions, or if you would like to request additional information about our projects and expertise, please feel free to contact us at:

Water Policy/Springs (HB 7005/SB 552) – Passed Legislature 1/14/16

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HB 7005/SB 552 is the leadership’s version of the 2016 Water Legislation. The House and Senate bills are identical. Requires FDEP to form working groups composed of stakeholders within certain springshed who are responsible for preparing scientific information on nutrients, public education plans and projects to reduce nutrient impacts in all spring areas where sewage treatment and disposal systems represent a source of excess nitrate-nitrite that must be controlled to meet TMDLs; authorizes FDEP to award funds for certain septic tank issues contingent on an appropriation. Does NOT provide for a statewide water commission or additional limitations on local government concerning nutrient loadings from septic tanks.


Court blocks EPA from enforcing Clean Water Rule anywhere in U.S.

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A federal appeals court temporarily blocked an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would subject more bodies of water to Clean Water Act permitting requirements.

Opponents of the Clean Water Rule say it’s so broad that it covers certain types of ditches, ponds and streams that only flow when it rains. They contend the rule makes it more difficult for property owners to make minor improvements and interferes with local land use decisions.

The EPA contends the regulation is necessary to protect streams and wetlands that feed America’s lakes and rivers.
The regulation was scheduled to go into effect Aug. 28, but 13 states won a preliminary injunction blocking the EPA from enforcing it. The agency contended, however, the rule was still in effect in other states.

On Friday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay blocking the rule from taking effect nationwide.
In its decision, the court said a stay “allows for a more deliberate determination” as to whether the EPA exceeded its authority when it issued the regulation and “temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new rule and whether they will survive legal testing.”


Robert Wronski Joins Applied Sciences

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Applied Sciences is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Wronski, P.E., M.S. to our teaRobert Wronskim of expert water resources professionals.  He brings 24 years of hands-on stormwater drainage and civil engineering experience, adding to our deep bench of engineering professionals.  Robert most recently served as the Drainage Engineer for the Pasco County Stormwater Management Division.  He was responsible for the design of stormwater management systems that resolved severe flooding issues for the County and its citizens.  In that capacity Robert directed, supervised and approved in-house Design Team, and outside Design Consultant’s stormwater drainage plans, permitting, and construction plan production work on projects ranging from $50,000 to $750,000 in scope and complexity.

Mr. Wronski has successfully completed numerous projects throughout his career including the design of stormwater management systems and roadway designs for urban arterial roadway construction; roadway widening and rehabilitation projects; and public, institutional, and governmental site development projects.  Robert is a welcomed addition to our Applied Sciences team of professionals and ready to assist with your stormwater, drainage and civil roadway design needs.

Over environmental concerns, Florida House passes water bill

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Water policy legislation favored by business interests and opposed by environmental advocates cleared the Florida House Thursday with bipartisan support. But a parallel effort in the Senate looks much different and it is unclear if the two chambers can reach an agreement.

The water bill is a top priority for House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, an agribusiness owner who has repeatedly talked about his desire to leave a legacy of tackling water quality and supply issues. “You have to have some place to start,” Crisafulli said after the debate. “This is a good place for us to start.”  Many House Democrats echoed those statements and most voted for the legislation, which passed 106-9.

Rep. Darryl Rouson, the St. Petersburg Democrat whose district includes parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties, said he supports the bill because it has “positive aspects for our water quality and our environment.”



2015 Report card For Utah’s Infrastructure

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Utah’s public infrastructure systems are at a crossroads of historic growth.Significant changes are needed as population density increases and the state’s infrastructure faces new demands. Utah is seeing a rapid shift towards urbanization but also a transition in infrastructure use from an agrarian to urban corridor. Both old and new infrastructure will require Utah’s attention. In this assessment, available funding and needs information was compiled, and it is estimated that Utah’s infrastructure needs over the next 20 years exceed $60 billion to both maintain and provide infrastructure for growing areas. As federal funding sources recede, the State of Utah will need to strive to be self-sufficient in the planning and funding of infrastructure. The2015 Report Card for Utah’s Infrastructure is an independent review of the current state of infrastructure needs, capability and funding in the State of Utah by the Utah Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is a tool that shows every citizen the extent, condition, and importance of the state’s infrastructure assets that support modern life.