Black Mountain receives 'transformative' stormwater funding

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
The town has been awarded $5 million from the state for help with stormwater projects.

The town of Black Mountain has been awarded $5 million from the state for stormwater projects.

This funding is part of a $2.3 billion investment from the state in water infrastructure over two years, according to a news release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s press office.

Black Mountain Planning Director Jessica Trotman said these funds would be “transformative” for the town. The $5 million the town was awarded is the maximum a municipality was allowed through the Local Assistance for Stormwater Infrastructure Investments program, according to a news release from the town.

The funds will be used to work on the Swannanoa Floodplain Project that was part of the Stormwater Master Plan. This project will take place on the north bank of the Swannanoa River between N.C. 9 and I-40 near the community garden.

According to the news release from the town, “the project will mitigate flood risks within the project area and downstream, reduce the erosive forces along the south bank and provide for water quality treatment during the more frequent storms.” The project will also help with flood mitigation.

Trotman said the $5 million can and will be used for both engineering and construction of this project.

She said the town has not yet engineered or finalized plans for the project yet and does not have a timeline but will have more concrete plans and information once the package from the state comes through.

Trotman said the town scored highly for the grant because of the town’s Stormwater Master Plan and an implementation of a stormwater utility fee.

She said had the town simply saved money from the stormwater utility fee for this project, it would have taken more than 50 years to save up the $5 million.

In addition to the $5 million, the town also received $400,000 from the same program for planning that will help assess the condition of Black Mountain’s stormwater system.

Trotman said these projects are important for the town because it helps the town plan for the future and understand what needs to be completed next.  

“It helps us understand the condition and state of our stormwater infrastructure and it helps us create maintenance strategies and funding strategies to improve things,” Trotman said. “Based on priority of needs, we can make really informed decisions about how to move forward on traditional stormwater projects.”

Trotman said that while the town is still in the planning stages, letters have been sent out to those who will be affected by these projects to let them know what is going on. She said these residents will eventually be brought in for their input.

“This is a really big deal for the town, it’s a huge opportunity,” Trotman said. “We just don’t have a lot of information at this point, but similar projects are called for upstream. … I hope that this serves as momentum to continue this work further upstream in the future.”