San Diego to upgrade stormwater infrastructure, reduce flooding with $37 million investment

(UI) – In San Diego, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and the California Water Resources Control Board announced a $37 million investment in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support the South Mission Storm Drain and Green Infrastructure project. This investment will strengthen resiliency to increasingly intense rain events and help protect residents from flooding in densely populated Mission Beach.

“Improving stormwater infrastructure protects homes, businesses and our environment,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “President Biden promised to strengthen communities across the country by investing in water infrastructure. He delivered on that promise with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and now $37 million is coming to San Diego to reduce the risk of flooding in South Mission Beach.”

San Diego will receive a $32 million low-interest loan and $5 million grant from the State Revolving Fund program, which is a longstanding federal-state partnership. This investment will enable San Diego to upgrade stormwater infrastructure in the South Mission Beach neighborhood that dates back to the 1940s and is inadequately sized, resulting in regular flooding in one of the City’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

Ultimately, these upgrades will not only reduce flooding, but it will also improve beach water quality in areas of Mariner’s Basin and support the city’s broader stormwater management goals.

“Our storm drain system is largely underground and out of sight, but the implications of this aging infrastructure failing are massive – from serious flooding in our neighborhoods to pollution of our bays and the ocean,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “While upgrading and modernizing storm drains doesn’t capture the public’s attention like fixing potholes, these major investments in critical infrastructure are incredibly important to our neighborhoods and quality of life.”

In 2022, EPA awarded San Diego a $225 million WIFIA loan to support the city’s Stormwater Capital Improvement Program. With the additional funding, San Diego will continue to improve stormwater measures that reduce flooding and protect the Pacific Ocean. The city’s plans include green infrastructure solutions that improve wetland habitats for plants and animals, reduce urban heat islands and create green space.

“The historic infusion of BIL dollars in recent years is helping California address the huge needs of our aging water and wastewater infrastructure,” said Joe Karkoski, Deputy Director of the Water Board and head of its Division of Financial Assistance.

“Thanks to this federal commitment and the work of local partners like the City of San Diego, the state is leveraging this funding to launch major projects that will help us be more resilient in the years ahead. But while historic, we know that the BIL is a down payment on the investment that will be required to overcome climate change impacts and that the partnerships we’ve built will be just as critical as funding to the work ahead of us.”


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