Orange County Public Works dredging pond area in Orlo Vista neighborhood near W Livingstone Street in Orange County.

Flood Mitigation Project Brings Flood Relief to Orlo Vista

Public Health & Safety

Improvements expected to help reduce flooding threat for 2023 hurricane season

Since March 2023, Orange County Stormwater Management excavators have been digging muck out of drained retention ponds in the Orlo Vista neighborhood of Orange County, and a steady stream of dump trucks has been hauling the dirt away. The Orlo Vista Mitigation Project is meant to help prevent future flooding in the flood-prone neighborhood.

The excavation will almost triple the capacity of three connected ponds that overflowed during Hurricanes Irma and Ian, flooding nearby homes. “The ponds are very large but also very shallow, so we’re making them approximately 10 feet deeper than they were originally built,” explained Daniel Negron, Chief Engineer with Orange County Stormwater Management.

Orange County will also improve the efficiency of the pumps that connect the three ponds so when a severe weather system approaches, the level of water in the ponds can be lowered to handle an influx of heavy rain. The project is set for completion in the summer of 2024, but the work already underway should lower the flooding threat for the 2023 hurricane season.

“Once we started the actual excavation and de-mucking process,” explained Negron, “we began to increase their volume, making them more and more effective for flood mitigation.”

Many homes in the Westside Manor neighborhood of Orlo Vista still show evidence of flood damage from Hurricane Ian. Several damaged homes remain unoccupied, but many residents who stayed through the recent floods say they are encouraged by the progress they see.

“What the County is doing will be a great help to this community,” said Julius Amos, an 84-year-old resident who evacuated his home after it flooded during both Irma and Ian. “This work will make a difference.”

The plan is to make the retention ponds capable of handling a 100-year storm or as much as 14.4 inches of rain in three days, which is the national standard for this type of project. It is possible future weather events could surpass a 100-year storm, but those occurrences are extremely rare.

The $23 million cost of the project is being funded by $19.2 million in federal grants and about $4 million from Orange County.

For more information, go to Orlo Vista Flood Mitigation Project.

Photo caption: Orange County Public Works dredging pond area in Orlo Vista neighborhood near W Livingstone Street in Orange County.

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