Hampton officials, Chesapeake Bay Foundation announce plans to combat flooding and pollution

Posted at 11:02 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 11:03:52-05

HAMPTON, Va. – Flooding is a problem across Hampton Roads, and most cities are taking action to try and control it.

Flooding in Hampton neighborhood. (News 3 viewer photo)

Hampton's Director of Community Development, Terry O'Neill, told News 3 they "are seeing flooding happen more severely than we ever seen before and more frequently.”

Wednesday, Hampton City Leaders and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced a “new financing opportunity.” The city will now be able to use environmental impact bonds for flood reduction projects.

These will mostly be green infrastructure projects. Officials told us this includes natural solutions like living shorelines and rain gardens.

“Historically when we had flood and drainage problems, it was a hardscape engineering solution. You would dig a ditch, drop a pipe in there," O'Neill explained.

Instead, they will now take innovative efforts.

Related: Parts of Hampton Roads are sinking faster than others, research shows 

"Maybe re-looking at how we construct roads and parking lots and things so that there is more natural filtration. You know, using more natural kinds of filtration system rather than trying to get water in the pipe and out the bay as fast as possible," O'Neill said.

The city is working to identify specific projects for the Newmarket Creek Basin.

CBF’s Hampton Roads Director Christy Everette said the projects available through this funding will have multiple benefits.

“Maybe beautify the community, improve economic development, provide more recreation opportunities," Everett explained.

With this initiative, "investors share the financial risk with the city if projects don’t perform as well as expected, but earn increased returns if they succeed beyond expectations."

Officials said the city will start developing project proposals in late January.