Several Pasco County neighborhoods at risk of serious flooding should soon be safer due to funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In the first of three flood relief projects for Pasco, FEMA will provide $1.5 million in order to alleviate the chronic flooding issues that extend from Forest Hills into Country Estates in the southwestern part of the county.
According to Assistant Public Works Director Donald Carey, the Forest Hills Drainage Project is designed to reduce storm water levels both in the streets and in 14 homes at risk for flooding in a 100-year event.
“When this project is constructed, all 14 of those houses should be out of the flood hazard area,” Carey said.
The county estimates the project will cost a little over $2 million. The difference between that cost and the FEMA funds will be split between the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the county.
The next two projects are the Zephyr Creek Drainage in South Zephyrhills, near Oak Ridge Heights, and the Port Richey Alternative Outfall, in West and Central Pasco County, near Gateway Home Mobile Park.
County officials anticipate FEMA will approve an additional $4.6 million dollars for those projects. That money would be used to fund design and construction.
The Forest Hills Drainage Project is close to the Pinellas County line, and the discharge from the major pond in that neighborhood runs through the River Watch neighborhood and out into the inlet river.
“The folks in the River Watch neighborhood graciously worked with us to grant us an easement by which we can do the work,” Carey said. An easement gives county workers the ability to enter property and do the necessary work.
Carey added they’ll have to replace an old 24-inch pipe with a 48-inch one which would allow water to drain out much more quickly.