Solution to Va. Beach flood problems won’t be cheap

WAVY/Matt Gregory

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Every time heavy rain passes through the Oceanfront, one neighborhood gets nailed by floodwater. The city has already started looking at options, but a solution won’t come quickly or cheaply.

“It’s pretty much anytime, anytime it rains for any more than 20 minutes, that’s it. My whole yard is flooded,” Anthony Pullen said. “My backyard is flooded. It’s standing water, constantly.”

Pullen and his mother, Kathryn, live in an area the city of Virginia Beach calls the lowest point at the Oceanfront — the 21st and Baltic Avenue neighborhood. Each heavy rainfall sends Anthony out into the elements to try and protect their home.

“But as soon as the flash floods come, all the leaves from down the street come down here, and I’m down here with my face under water pulling all these leaves out of this drain,” Pullen said.

This week’s flooding devastated their home, and even sandbags couldn’t keep the floodwater’s back from rushing inside.

Photos: Flooding at the Oceanfront

The flooding is no secret, even the city knows and said it’s caused by an old outdated drainage system.

“That is the lowest drainage point at the beach,” Virginia Beach Public Works Department spokesman Drew Lankford said. “From anywhere for $8 to $10 million we can put in a pump station, and that will help until we get this whole system done. Problem is, then we gotta tear it down.”

The city already has a study underway to solve the issue, but they said it will take more than a year to even start the project.

“What they’ll do at this phase is that they’ve identified the problem and possible solutions,” Lankford said. “They have got to look at the most feasible solution. Regardless of what they come up with, it’s going to be a big project and it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

Back at the lowest point in Virginia Beach, all Anthony can do is fight the rising tide, one storm at a time.

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