LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Some welcome news for thousands of people who live near a portion of the levee system in the Wyoming Valley.

They may not see their flood insurance rates increase as they feared might happen.

The levee system is one step closer to receiving federal accreditation.

The levee in Wilkes-Barre and Hanover Township had failed an initial evaluation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

However, It passed a second inspection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

That means there are no safety concerns and flood insurance premiums are expected to hold steady.

“I would like to see the insurance stop going up because I know we have flood insurance here it’s been rising the last three years,” said Hanover Township resident Larry Clemons.

Larry and Gerry Clemons live near the levee in Hanover Township. They know all too well the threat of flooding and paying for flood protection.

“We do worry a little bit when the river comes up, it does come up quick. We’ve been through two evacuations. The dikes did hold and that you know,” said Larry.

They were happy to hear that a re-evaluation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended that the levees be accredited.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did an initial evaluation of the levee and determined that the freeboard safety buffer on top of both levees was several inches below the standard three feet.

As a result, the levees failed the federal requirement that the system would provide flood protection for the so-called 100-year flood.

The Luzerne County flood protection authority, which oversees the levee system, asked for and was granted a re-evaluation by the Army Corps of Engineers.

New risk assessment factors were used and the levees were determined to meet the current standards.

FEMA will now review the new assessment, Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown says he’s optimistic the system will be accredited.

“How does that affect the people in that area? It means that hopefully, the rates will not increase for flood insurance. They’ll stay the same and it’s a major endeavor for us to try to make sure we have flood protection, but also have flood protection for lower flood insurance premiums,” said Mayor Brown.

Hanover Township Manager Sam Guesto says the new Army Corps assessment is welcome news.

“If we weren’t accredited they either have to raise the levee the two feet they thought it was short to begin with or all the homeowners that are protected by the levee that do have insurance coverage would see a drastic big measurable increase,” said Guesto.

Insurance rates can range anywhere from several hundred dollars a year to several thousand dollars a year.

A spokesperson for FEMA tells Eyewitness News they will make a decision on the new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspection recommendation within 90 days.