For 9 out of 18 properties his company surveyed, land surveyor Kenneth R. Ferreira says the new FEMA maps contain errors that incorrectly place homeowners inside the flood plain. "The new maps are extremely precise," he said, "but not entirely accurate."

November 01, 2009 12:00 AM federal flood maps are baffling some Bristol County homeowners by revealing their properties lie in a high-risk flood area, requiring them to buy flood insurance for the first time.

Other homeowners, who already own flood insurance, are facing increased premiums because the maps reflect a change in their high-risk designation. Still others are finding that nothing has changed regarding their coastal properties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued new flood maps for Bristol County on July 7. (Maps for Plymouth County are not expected to go into effect until next summer due to an appeal).

The so-called digital flood insurance rate maps, which can be viewed by going to FEMA's Web site at and clicking on "flood maps," are part of a nationwide effort to modernize outdated paper maps and make them "more reliable, easier-to-use and readily available," according to the agency.

But a local land surveyor says the new FEMA maps contain errors that incorrectly place some homeowners inside the flood plain. For 9 out of 18 properties surveyed by his New Bedford company, Kenneth R. Ferreira took elevation measurements that prove the houses sit outside the flood plain. His findings could save the affected homeowners thousands of dollars in insurance costs.

"The new maps are extremely precise, but not entirely accurate," said Ferreira, a land surveyor and civil engineer who is president of Kenneth R. Ferreira Engineering Inc.

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