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Huntington Stormwater Utility 11th Street pump station is shown on Monday, Feb. 24, in Huntington. The EDA on Monday announced $5,164,240 in grant funding toward improvements and upgrades to the infrastructure. 

HUNTINGTON — Huntington Stormwater Utility will soon begin making necessary upgrades to the city’s floodwall infrastructure after receiving $5.1 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The announcement of the $5,164,240 in grant funding under EDA’s disaster relief authority was made Monday during an event at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, according to a news release.

Huntington Stormwater Utility intends to match 20% of the award, boosting the total cost of the project to $6,455,300.

“The Huntington Stormwater Utility and Sanitary Board continue to make positive strides to update Huntington’s infrastructure so that we remain a safe, healthy and growing community,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We are grateful to EDA and a team of dedicated allies from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, our congressional leaders and other partners who are helping Huntington put this infrastructure upgrade into action.”

Flooding in 2015 and 2018 caused damage to Huntington’s 11th Street pump station, and the project would include stabilizing the station and adjacent monoliths, as well as replacing a sewage line that originates inside of it.

The funds will also help engineer a long-term goal of removing the sewage infrastructure from the 11th Street and 9th Street pump stations entirely, which would extend the life of the system, decrease the potential for combined sewer overflows as well as reduce costs to the Stormwater Utility and taxpayers in the city.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin and U.S. Rep. Carol Miller have shown their support in backing the project, which is another step toward improvement made by the Huntington Sanitary Board and Stormwater Utility and the EDA over the last several years.

“The EDA has invested over $50 million into the Mountain State in the past five years alone, and without their support for our state and our people, our economy and businesses would be a lot worse for wear,” Manchin said Monday. “Today’s project announcements highlight the great work being done across our state and in various sectors, from manufacturing to natural disaster preparedness.”

Capito said she has been working to improve the state’s economy and communities since elected to in the Senate in 2015.

“The EDA has been a tremendous partner as I’ve worked to make this a reality in West Virginia, and today’s grant announcements are welcome news as we continue our work together to provide needed support to projects across the state,” she said. “In particular, the funding to repair a portion of the floodwall that protects downtown Huntington will ensure catastrophes like the 1937 flood never happen again.”

Huntington Stormwater Utility has worked with floodwall engineers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in developing a plan of action toward the floodwall upgrades, and the work was approved by the Corps of Engineers in January 2019.

The floodwall section runs along the Ohio River from the West End of Huntington to downtown and was built between 1939 and 1943.

Upgrades to the infrastructure are tentatively set to begin this fall.

Follow reporter Hanna Pennington via Twitter @hpennHD.

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