City applies for state funds to help with storm water

Matt Algarin

Flooding in the Heritage Run subdivision has been a problem for years, and now city leaders will seek funding from the state of Florida to remedy the issue.

“We’ve attempted to fix the issue with available funding and we’ve had some various degrees of success,” City Manger Greg Kisela said. “This gives us the first opportunity to compete for those dollars.”

With a unanimous vote Monday night, city leaders agreed to file an application for funding, which would be reviewed by the state’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Committee. The application will ask for a total of $1,061,742 for the automatic pump and wet well project.

The city has actively sought grant funding to reduce flooding issues since Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994, based on city files. In 2006 Destin received funds through a hazard mitigation grant to improve drainage in the neighborhood.

At the time, the engineering solution was based on gravity outfall and used an automatic floodgate, larger drainage pipes, and a 30-foot conveyance swale to divert stormwater away from Heritage Run.

Since then “storm events have justified the need for a more aggressive solution” — the installation of the wet well and automatic pump. The city had budgeted $30,000 as part of its 2015 capital improvement program to design the system. The funding from the state would allow for construction of the system.

Councilman Jim Foreman told his colleagues that this issue has been a consistent thorn in the city’s side for quite some time.

“This is a problem that goes back before the founding of the city,” he said. “What we are basically trying to do, is permanently fix a problem we didn’t create.”

Jenkins Engineering performed a stormwater analysis for the city in January and noted that the Heritage Run subdivision was developed at a time when “storm water management requirements in the Florida Panhandle were minimal, therefore there is no common storm water management facility.” It also says the subdivision is “essentially a land locked basin with regard to storm water runoff discharge.”

Overall, Foreman said the project was the “right thing to do.” The city should have word on the status of its application by July.