Virginia Beach stormwater management requests more money in next year’s budget

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Public Works Mark Johnson
Public Works’ Mark Johnson speaks to city council while city manager Dave Hansen looks at the program’s above target summary table Tuesday, March 15.

VIRGINIA BEACH — There is about $450 million in unfunded stormwater management projects and public works is requesting more money for its budget next year to address them.

City council listened to the city’s stormwater capital improvement program’s funding requests at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“This is not going to be a lot different than what we showed you in December,” said Public Works director Phil Davenport. “What we’re showing you today is based on the CIP [capital improvement program] proposal we at public works developed several months ago without any of the adjustments the city manager may be making when he offers his recommendation to city council in a couple weeks.”

Davenport said issues made apparent as a result by the uptick of recent storms puts more emphasis on flood mitigation in the water quality section of the program.

The program’s current budget is about $23 million a year. Operating costs take $14.6 million of the sum, flood control takes $4.7 million and water quality takes $3 million.

There’s a five year schedule set to cover $130 million in storm water management projects, but there is still $450 million in projects not included in this number.

Melanie Coffey, surface water quality engineer, explained the financial shortfalls for stormwater quality and regulatory compliance projects, which ask for $6.2 million more in next year’s budget.

Public Works Mike Mundy
Public Works’ Michael Mundy presents storm water flood control projects to city council Tuesday. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

This requested total reflects the possibility of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s sustainable water initiative for tomorrow program, which could give credits to the city for water quality work.

These projects would fund improvements to comply with the state’s MS4 permit, reduce on pollution, monitor water quality in all watersheds and construction projects to meet the local and Chesapeake Bay’s total maximum daily load. Total maximum daily loads is the highest amount of a pollutant a body of water can receive while still meeting quality standards.

“Just so the council understands the magnitude of the TMDL [total maximum daily loads requirements], when you take out a pound of phosphorous inside the Lynnhaven watershed … these kinds of investments are running upwards and over $30,000 a pound,” city manager Dave Hansen said.

“If you take that 390 [pounds of phosphorous] and multiply it by $30,000, that one line is 11 million in investment to try to remove that.”

Councilman John Moss recommended the city renegotiate the terms of its permit with the state.

“This is ridiculous,” Moss said. “This really puts a huge burden on families.”

There are 17 flood control projects, and most of them need funding. Michael Mundy, water resources storm water program manager, touched on them all, but the big numbers come from neighborhoods that suffered flood damage from recent storms.

They include the Windsor Woods drainage project that needs $31 million more in funding, which is currently funded at $3.9 million. Projects that haven’t been budgeted for yet include a $66 million Princess Anne Plaza drainage project, a $28 million drainage improvements for The Lakes and a $35 million Ashville Park neighborhood.

Public Works’ Mark Johnson explained the program’s operations and maintenance projects that need additional funding, which amounted to $7 million.

These projects include lake and canal management, storm water facilities maintenance at the Oceanfront, infrastructure improvements, pump station maintenance and more. Projects that have not been budgeted for yet include a $3 million drainage project Hollis and Pleasure House Road, Shore Drive and Church Point, as well as a $2 million annually to restore 47 miles of canals.

Follow Justin on Twitter @Justinbmmj or contact him at Justin@Southsidedaily.com