Petersburg awarded $2.6 million to addressing flooding, 1800s era infrastructure

Taking Action

Petersburg, Va. (WRIC) —  Flood relief could be on the way for Petersburg residents.

The city has been awarded $2.6 million dollars in state grants for stormwater management. The money will allow Petersburg to conduct a comprehensive drainage study to address its reoccurring flood problems.

This past summer devastating flash floods overpowered Petersburg’s drainage system and closed streets to high water. In addition, multiple homeowners report flooding with almost every rain. The flooding turned basements into pools and backyards into ponds. 

Stuart Turille, the City Manager, said the study will allow Petersburg to collect an inventory of its aging stormwater sewer system, with its main infrastructures dating back to the 1800s. 

“The infrastructure was put in place hundreds of years [ago]. It is no longer adequate to meet the needs of a growing city,” he said.

Turille added that the study will help Petersburg pinpoint the trouble spots and a plan for solutions. 

“Once you get an understanding of where the problems are in the system, then you can construct and upgrade systems but you have to first know the problem areas,” Turille said.

8News reached out to state officials about flooding in Petersburg back in September, after homeowner Alonzo Saunders said frequent flooding and drainage problems damaged the foundation of his home.

“All this washed out. So, this is my foundation right here and there’s nothing here,” he told 8News, pointing to the water damage to his home.

State officials said that there were grants the city could apply for, and 8News shared that information with Petersburg. 

According to officials, the drainage study could lead to flood protection for not only Saunders but residents citywide. The study begins next year and Turille said the time to act is now.

The City said it will also use the grant money to hire a certified floodplain manager and to develop a resilience plan.

In the meantime, Petersburg said that it has set aside dollars for some shovel-ready projects to help with flooding in several neighborhoods including Claremont and Lakemont.

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