Flagler County is finishing its new stormwater master plan, and a consulting firm it hired has identified 60 longterm projects to improve infrastructure and water quality and prevent flooding.
Flagler County hired Geosyntec Consultants in December 2021 to analyze data, review local codes and seek public input to identify problem areas.
“This is a way to organize things going forward for the county," Geosyntec consultant Mark Ellard said at a special Flagler County Commission workshop on July 31.
The final public meeting for the stormwater master plan was also held later that evening.
The stormwater master plan draft also created a potential five- to 10-year implementation plan that includes the top 20 projects, Ellard said.
Those projects focus on unincorporated areas, and the top four address flooding.
Ellard said completing the top 20 projects could cost around $40 million over the next five to 10 years.
Almost half of top 20 projects were in the Daytona North area. Other projects are also in that area, but lower on the list, according to a map Ellard showed during his presentation.
“There’s a lot of flooded development there ... and a lot of water quality concerns over there,” he said.
In Florida — including Flagler County — most contaminants in water are nutrients, though some areas also have problems with metals or bacteria, or with dissolved oxygen levels, Ellard said.
A cost-benefit analysis determined project rankings, Ellard said. Public input was also considered.
The master plan involves creating an inventory map of the county’s infrastructure, including areas that do not fall under the Flagler County government's jurisdiction.
Ellard noted that stormwater “does not stop at jurisdictional lines.”
“A lot of focus in this master plan is in county areas,” Ellard said. “There’s quite a bit of inventory in a lot of areas that will benefit the county as a whole.”
A stormwater master plan can also help the county prepare for rising sea levels and storm surge, Ellard said.
Some projects would modernize and retrofit existing infrastructure for resiliency.
“In the last few decades, the art of stormwater management has moved forward quite a bit,” he said.
Ellard said Geosyntec has also identified potential grant funding, including grants through the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Environmental Protections and St. Johns River Water Management District.
Commissioner Donald O’Brien said that since the master plan will be finished in a few months, the board might consider adding some of the projects to upcoming legislative requests.
“All five of us [county commissioners] live in Palm Coast,” O’Brien said. “We all deal with and see the impact of an older stormwater system in the city.”
Commissioner David Sullivan, who lives in the Grand Haven community, cited Grand Haven as an example of stormwater management done right.
“It can be done,” he said. “But it’s a big job.”
The draft stormwater master plan has been submitted to county staff for review. The Flagler County Commission will review the final draft in September or October.