FEMA awards $621K to Coatesvillefor flood mitigation

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the City of Coatesville a $621,360 Flood Mitigation Assistance grant to design and engineer long-term resilience solutions to reduce the potential for flooding in the City.

Flood management and mitigation quickly rose to the top of the City’s priority list in 2021 when the City experienced several unprecedented rainfall events, including Hurricane Ida, that left more than 130 homeowners and renters without a place to live. It was estimated that more than $100 million in residential and infrastructure damage resulted from Ida’s path of destruction.

The City engaged Cedarville Engineering Group to evaluate the City’s stormwater mitigation system and infrastructure. Among the findings, the Gibbons Run Culvert, which runs under Ash Park and west to the Brandywine, was identified as a significant choke point. The culvert was overwhelmed by runoff and unable to transport enough stormwater from the area to reduce or prevent flooding. “While the existing infrastructure performed as expected, it was not able to accommodate the sheer volume of water and rise of the Brandywine,” says Kyle Turner, Project Manager at Cedarville. “With this grant, we will be looking at developing a solution which will help build resiliency into the City’s infrastructure to help with similar events in the future.”

The City collaborated with the Coatesville Fire Department, County of Chester, Chester County Office of Emergency Services, and Cedarville Engineering to prepare a plan and projected funding to develop an effective stormwater management system that would mitigate future risk factors. The resulting 2021 Stormwater Risk and Damage Assessment Report illustrates stormwater damage and areas susceptible to severe flooding throughout the City of Coatesville. It provided a city-wide assessment and review of the current stormwater system, recommendations, cost projections and mitigation tools to better prepare and protect the citizens of Coatesville.

“Based on the report findings, the City applied for the FEMA grant with a request for funding to address a massive overhaul and upgrade of our stormwater infrastructure,” says City Manager James Logan. “The grant will be utilized to address inefficiencies in our stormwater management network, which includes outdated pipes, inability to manage high volumes of water, and water flow challenges caused by the Brandywine River. We are grateful for the support we received from U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, U.S. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, PEMA, and FEMA.”

In March 2023, the City submitted a Community Revitalization Program (CRP) application to the County for funding to conduct a series of stormwater surveys, benefit-cost analysis and design analysis. “We have high hopes that the County will award the City of Coatesville the funds which would enable us to kickstart the project while awaiting funds from FEMA that will become available to the City by 2024.”

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