Staunton swamped, literally, by recent flooding

stauntonThe City of Staunton is facing millions of dollars in costs related to two recent storm events, against a backdrop of a budget that is already stretched to the gills.

The city is conducting a preliminary assessment of its current and planned stormwater management facilities and practices that will include an analysis of planned capital improvement projects and revenue sources to help prioritize and implement improvements to stormwater management systems, including longer term strategies.

The fiscal challenge facing the city is demonstrated by the fact that total stormwater projects for the upcoming five-year period total $4.2 million, with an additional $20 million in unscheduled and unfunded projects, while the revenues dedicated to these projects — derived from stormwater and erosion and sediment control fees — total approximately $780,000 annually.

Public works crews remain focused on day-to-day maintenance of the city’s stormwater management infrastructure to ensure maximum performance during any upcoming heavy rain events. The extreme amounts of rainfall in short periods in very localized areas earlier this month have posed a significant challenge to existing stormwater conveyances, which has resulted in damage in the delineated floodplain area of the city.

As the assessment commences, actions are already planned and/or underway to improve flood resiliency. City staff is studying flood control measures and working to identify solutions that meet permit requirements while providing flood control benefits.

Examples of these efforts include the following:

  • The city is in the final stages of a new flood study, which will result in revised flood maps for the West Beverley Street corridor. Approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected soon.
  • Staff is currently identifying potential projects to support flood resiliency and evaluating grant funding sources.
  • Engineering and public works have been working to address drainage issues in small, localized areas as funds and city staff are available.
  • Design of the Tams Caroline Augusta storm drain project is underway.  This project will address severe drainage issues from Tams Street to New Street at Augusta Street.
  • The city recently made improvements to the stormwater system at Central Avenue and Johnson Street and with the Churchville Avenue improvement project.

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