Funds to improve drainage and sewer infrastructure for the city of ShepherdSpecial to the News-Times
AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Texas Sen. Robert Nichols and County Judge Fritz Faulkner announced the Texas General Land Office approved funds for flood mitigation projects in San Jacinto County and the City of Shepherd.
These infrastructure projects will directly benefit residents in a majority low-to-moderate income area that faced repetitive storm damage in 2015, 2016, 2017 with Hurricane Harvey, and 2019.
The City of Shepherd received $4,200,000 for its Citywide Sewer Infiltration and Inflow Mitigation Project, which will assist with ongoing drainage issues throughout the city by replacing sewer lines, replacing or reconstructing sewer manholes and raising and hardening a lift station.
Shepherd Mayor Charles Minton said the city is excited about the grant, which will go a long way to improve its sewer plant and lines.
“I believe this is one of the largest grants the city has received, and will greatly benefit our residents and greatly improve our infrastructure for water and wastewater,” he said.
The city developed a scope of work in order to qualify for the money, which is part of the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund.
“With the severe weather we have, our sewer system was reaching an age where it suffered from infiltration and overflow at the sewer plant,” Minton said. “Heavy rains overload the plant, causing function issues, and could back up into homes.”
The project will encompass approximately 46,872 linear feet of sanitary sewer line replacement, trench safety, connect new main (or new manhole) to existing manhole (or existing main), main line cleanout, connect service to new main, remove existing manhole with standard manhole replacement, driveway repairs, highway and railroad bore, replace one sewer lift station, elevate and rehabilitate 18 manholes, and associated appurtenances.
“The city of Shepherd has experienced ongoing drainage issues for years, running the risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship for our residents,” Faulkner said. “This $4.2 million will help us improve our citywide sewer system, including the replacement of almost nine miles of sewer lines, to reduce the impact of future disasters.”
In May 2020, Commissioner George P. Bush announced the kick-off of the application process for the first round of more than $2.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to protect Texas communities hit by Hurricane Harvey and severe flooding in 2015 and 2016. During the first round, the GLO conducted three competitive application programs from the CDBG-MIT Action Plan. Those programs include:
- 2015 Floods State Mitigation Competition – GLO awarded $31,426,781 to four grantees.
- 2016 Floods State Mitigation Competition – GLO awarded 21 grantees with $135,462,438.
- Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition Round 1 ($1 billion of $2,144,776,720 total)
“Texas leads the nation in disaster designations for repetitive flooding,” Bush said. “We must work together to help communities across Texas be more resilient against devasting storms in the future. This first round of funding represents an historic investment in protecting lives, homes, and public facilities, as well as minimizing environmental impacts of severe storms, in many of our state’s lower-income communities. The GLO is proud to play a part in addressing this tremendous need.”
Nichols offered his support from the Texas Capitol saying, "It's impossible to overstate how important these flood mitigation funds are to East and Southeast Texas. Senate District 3 saw severe flooding during the 2015 floods, the 2016 floods, and again during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. These flooding events showed just how vulnerable this area of the state is and how necessary mitigation efforts are. Senate District 3 won over $105 million in the competitive flood mitigation fund award process because the projects in our region are vital to protecting Texans from future flood events. I appreciate the professionalism of the GLO throughout this process and our local officials who worked so hard to make these projects a reality."
Applications closed for the first round of funding Oct. 28, 2020, and the GLO evaluated all 290 submitted applications in accordance with the HUD approved scoring criteria. Eligible applications with the highest scores were awarded funds. The second round of the competition will award the remaining $1,144,776,720 in mitigation funding to Hurricane Harvey eligible entities.
HUD defines mitigation as activities that increase resilience to disasters and reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship, by lessening the impact of future disasters. HUD requires that at least 50 percent of total funds must be used for activities benefiting low- to moderate-income persons.
The State of Texas CDBG Mitigation Action Plan: Building Stronger for a Resilient Future outlines the use of funds, programs, eligible applicants, and eligibility criteria as required by HUD. The plan was sent to HUD on Feb. 3, 2020, after an extraordinary public outreach effort including a 50-day public comment period and eight regional public hearings, far-surpassing HUD requirements. HUD approved the plan March 31, 2020.
For more information, visit recovery.texas.gov/mitigation.