Gulfport Creates Watershed Management Plan

The City of Gulfport is using coronavirus recovery funds to repair aging infrastructure and create a watershed management plan.
Cathy Salustri

Gulfport Creates Watershed Management Plan

ARPA Money Fund Plan – With Water and Sewer Repairs

By Monroe Roark

With coronavirus recovery funds, Gulfport will get a watershed management plan as well as long overdue repairs to its sewer and water lines.

Following Council’s review and approval of two major projects at the June 7 regular meeting of City Council, Gulfport has now used more than half of its coronavirus recovery funds.

The City voted to spend some of the money to create a watershed management plan. Council has authorized an appropriation of $292,345 for an agreement with Advanced Engineering and Design for the development of this watershed management plan. Officials said this will provide an assessment of the stormwater system’s capabilities in light of the city’s vulnerability to coastal flooding, and it also supports compliance with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, which addresses point source water pollution (contaminants from specific things), and House Bill 53. HB 35, it mandates long-term infrastructure planning for stormwater and wastewater.

A representative from Advanced Engineering and Design provided an overview of the process of developing a WMP. This includes mapping and inventory details of the city’s stormwater assets, evaluating system performance through various rainfall events, and evaluating stormwater resilience under certain coastal flooding conditions. and sea level rise projections. The proposed timeline from project development to writing the final report is just over two years.

In another item on the agenda, council approved a $600,000 investment in water and sewer infrastructure through pipe repairs. The vote was aimed at transferring funds for the project, with officials hoping to have a contract ready for Council approval next month.

Noting that faulty pipe joints and broken pipes in the sanitary sewer system allow infiltration that dramatically increases the overall flow of sewage during storms or heavy rains, officials said an assessment has been completed that identifies areas requiring special attention.

This action concerns “priority 2” repairs. According to a City of Gulfport staff document, “Priority 1” repairs have been completed and the identified “Priority 2” repairs will cost a total of $3,740,118. This initial amount of $600,000 is used to start the work.

Gulfport has received $6,181,536 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two appropriations approved by the Board on June 7 bring the total funds allocated to $3,691,528.

According to a staff report, the City of Gulfport spent:

$800,000 – Water meters

$600,000 – Water and sewer infrastructure

$418,506 – Chase Park Pickle Ball/Tennis Courts

$300,000 – Loss of income and future compensation for inflation

$300,000 – Salary bonus for essential employees

$300,000 – Utility capital improvements (manholes)

$292,345 – Creation of a watershed management plan

$247,425 – Gulfport Rebound Program

$200,000 – Private Water Line and Private Lateral Replacement Assistance Program

$77,000 – Lift station upgrades

$60,000 – Public Wi-Fi Project

$38,252 – R3 (Individual Utility Assistance Program)

$33,000 – Gulfport Gateway Grant (Utility Assistance Program for Small Businesses)

$25,000 – Accounting and consulting.

With these projects funded, the City has $2,490,008 remaining in available ARPA funds.

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