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A Modern Stormwater Master Plan is Being Implemented in Hollywood

By Hollywood Mayor - Josh Levy

April 20, 2023

Dear Residents, With the recent rainfall event that brought us about one-third of our annual rainfall in one day, resulting in unprecedented flooding in many parts of our city, I’d like to inform you about the very large initiatives that our city is in the midst of undertaking regarding stormwater management.

South Florida's annual rainy season has historically been between the months of June and October. During this time, South Florida is accustomed to intermittent flood conditions, especially after a large amount of rain falls over a short period of time or during a tropical system event. That was how it's always been, but these days, with more frequent “history-making” rainfall events coupled with higher water tables caused in part by sea level rise, South Florida cities evermore recognize that we need to shore up our stormwater defenses.

All cities have storm water management systems that work to contain and control rain water in order to minimize flooding and enable the community to live through rain events with as little interruption to our daily lives as possible. In Hollywood, the stormwater system includes miles of pipes, channels, ditches, swales, natural waterways and drainage easements. It also includes thousands of manholes and inlets, various pumping stations, and retention and detention basins.

Stormwater systems always need maintenance and frequently need updating, especially when they no longer deliver an adequate level of service for a community experiencing changing climate conditions. The good news for us on this front in the City of Hollywood is that we’re in the final period of a 2-year project that our City Commission embarked upon - to create a comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan for the city.

Following 2 years of engineering analysis, the plan provides us with a list of projects, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, enabling us to better address stormwater management throughout the city - with consideration to Flood Control, Water Quality Protection, Aquifer Recharge, Supply Conservation and Reuse Conservation, Operation and Maintenance Stormwater Utility Sufficiency, Long Term Financing, Community Acceptance, Adaptability, Resiliency, Fairness in execution and Sustainability.

To reach a better level of service for our city, the 20-year Stormwater Master Plan itemizes and recommends selection of $980 Million to $1.9 Billion Dollars of Infrastructure improvement projects, including the upgrading and addition of our Exfiltration Systems, Gravity Pipe Collection Systems and Inlets, Stormwater Pump Stations, Outfalls, Stormwater Gravity and Injection Wells, Storage and Detention Storage, Swales, Backflow Prevention Devices, Raise Seawalls / Shoreline Armoring, and Road Raising in conjunction with new collection systems.

Once the Stormwater Master Plan is formally adopted, our next steps will be to determine the near-term budget and select initial projects within the budget. We’ll also need to determine the city’s long-term financing plan and continue to pursue regional, state and federal grants in parallel. The same need exists for the hopes of converting and connecting our many septic-tank neighborhoods to our city sewer system for proper wastewater treatment.

Lots of necessary projects, with a magnitude of dollars beyond the capability of our city government to self-fund, but we are up to the task of chipping away at the list of recommended projects year-after-year to achieve the level of service goals that we desire.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone for your patience during last week’s rainfall event, and thank you to all the city crews from Public Utilities, Public works, Police, Fire Rescue and more, who worked to keep us safe during that time.

Yours in service,

Josh Levy

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