HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The Huntington Stormwater Utility is receiving a grant to stabilize and improve the city’s floodwall infrastructure.
The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, provides $5,164,240 under the EDA’s disaster relief authority. The Huntington Stormwater Utility says they will match 20% of the funds, providing $1,291,060 of the funds needed for the $6,455,300 project.
Dana Gartzke, acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, made the announcement Monday, Aug. 3 at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and Huntington Water Quality Board Executive Director Brian Bracey.
“The Huntington Stormwater Utility and Sanitary Board continue to make positive strides to update Huntington’s infrastructure so that we remain a safe, healthy and growing community,” Williams said. “We are grateful to EDA and a team of dedicated allies from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, our congressional leaders, and other partners who are helping Huntington put this infrastructure upgrade into action.”
Some of the specific plans for the grant include stabilizing the 11th Street floodwall pump station, the adjacent monoliths and a sewage line that originates inside the pump station.
The funds would also allow the city to engineer a future project the city says could remove the sewage line infrastructure from the 11th and 9th Street pump stations, ensuring the system’s long-term resiliency by further strengthening the floodwall, reducing operational costs for the Stormwater Utility and taxpayers and decrease the potential for combined sewer overflows.
“The EDA has invested over $50 million into the Mountain State in the past five years alone, and without their support for our state and our people, our economy and businesses would be a lot worse for wear,” Manchin said. “Today’s project announcements highlight the great work being done across our state and in various sectors, from manufacturing to natural disaster preparedness. These projects are projected to create and retain over 2,500 jobs for West Virginians across our state.”
According to city officials, the 11th Street pump station was moved and tilted in flooding events in 2015 and 2018, which pulled apart the adjacent concrete monolith walls and the sewer outflow pipe. Officials also say a sinkhole that appeared at the base of the structures has steadily worsened.
“Improving our economy, revitalizing communities, and creating opportunities for West Virginians has been a top priority of mine since day one,” Capito said. “The EDA has been a tremendous partner as I’ve worked to make this a reality in West Virginia, and today’s grant announcements are welcome news as we continue our work together to provide needed support to projects across the state. In particular, the funding to repair a portion of the floodwall that protects downtown Huntington will ensure catastrophes like the 1937 flood never happen again.”