Home / Blog / $3M from FEMA set to mitigate stormwater at Bethlehem's Easton Ave

$3M from FEMA set to mitigate stormwater at Bethlehem's Easton Ave

May 18, 2024May 18, 2024

PHILADELPHIA — Just over $3 million in federal grant money will be used to address flooding along Easton Avenue in Bethlehem.

The flood mitigation funds are part of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program, according to a Monday news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The project’s Phase 1 is slated to increase stormwater detention storage and is planned to see the installation of bioretention or rain garden improvements to take a load off the current system.

“By retrofitting outdated detention facilities, improving soil conditions, and incorporating native plant species, the project will reduce flooding and improve water quality while enhancing aesthetics and providing habitat benefits,” the release reads.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said this funding is possible because of President Biden’s Investing in America program.

“From Hawaii to Maine, communities across the country are experiencing more frequent and intense severe weather events, resulting in devastating impacts to their homes, businesses, and families,” Criswell said in a news release. “Though FEMA will always help communities respond and recover to these disasters, it is also paramount to build resilience before disasters strike.”

The Easton Avenue project is one of five statewide — two in Philadelphia, and one apiece in Bridgeville and Dover — slated to be covered by BRIC funding. Those projects will see a total of over $14 million to offset implementation.

BRIC funding, according to the news release, is meant to target hazard risks for cities and surrounding areas, such as places like Bethlehem and its nearby township. These could involve sustainable planning, design, environmental management and specific engineering, all as a means to increase community resilience, according to FEMA.

Flood Mitigation Assistance funding will also go towards a couple of other state projects in Philadelphia and Yardley.

The release said this year is historic for these avenues of grant funding, as 14 projects were selected across the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. That makes for about $162 million covered by either BRIC or Flood Mitigation Assistance funding to address projects around the Mid-Atlantic.

“These programs allow us to work with states in our region and the District of Columbia to find new and innovative ways to help communities become more resilient,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney.