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Sunday, October 01, 2023

Stormwater management uses funding to install permanent piping and pump stations in Alachua County

Board of County Commissioners consider additional funding to mitigate flooding

Stormwater Management has installed 4,600 feet of permanent piping and four permanent pumps which have helped alleviate flooding in “legacy flooding” areas. These areas were built prior to stormwater regulations; there are nine total in Alachua County. 

James Link, Alachua County stormwater engineer, gave a stormwater update to the Alachua County Commission Tuesday afternoon on the effects of pump installations and future stormwater management projects. It’s been almost two years since the last stormwater update of this kind, Link said.

In August 2021, the County Commission authorized about $1 million in funding for flood mitigation. With this funding, stormwater management laid 4,600 feet of permanent piping and constructed four permanent pump stations, according to Link’s report. 

“Now that we've installed this permanent piping in basically all of our legacy flooding areas, we don't have shutdowns of any travel lanes or sidewalks,” Link said. “We’re very pleased with how it’s performed.” 

The commission approved funding March 28 for resilient grants, which are a 50% federal and 50% local match, according to stormwater management’s report. Another grant is being submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the acquisition of four properties in Alachua County. Of the four properties, two are willing sellers, one is not willing to sell and the last property did not respond to stormwater management’s request. 

The commission approved grants to purchase and demolish two homes in Robin Lane, Hills of Santa Fe and Pine Hills. Robin Lane will be completed by March 31, 2025, and Hills of Santa Fe and Pine Hills will be completed by June 30, 2026. 

Projects tend to last 14-16 months and include purchasing and appraising the property, designing and building the stormwater basin and then restoring the area. However, the Robin Lane, Hills of Santa Fe and Pine Hills projects are held up because one of the two needed sellers will not sell. 

Perry Peeples, real property coordinator, has met with unwilling sellers alongside Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete, but so far, nothing has worked. Stormwater management can’t move forward without the needed properties, he said. That's why Peeples is requesting County Commissioners approve grants authorizing the public works director to sign, he said. 

 "Then we go forward and obtain appraisals so we can put a written offer — a purchase contract — in front of the folks,” Peeples said. “It changes things.”

Contact Ella Thompson at ethompson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @elladeethompson.

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Ella Thompson

Ella Thompson is a third-year journalism major who's on general assignment for The Alligator's metro desk. In her free time, she likes to read, cook and think of feature stories for The Alligator.


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