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Public Works Department reveals plan to improve Davis Shores sewer system

Davis Shores neighborhood during Hurricane Matthew
Davis Shores neighborhood during Hurricane Matthew

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Sewer backup and flooding were the big topics at a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss Hurricane Matthew's impact on the infrastructure in the Davis Shores neighborhood of St. Augustine.

More than four months after Hurricane Matthew swept up Florida's east coast, cleanup and restoration efforts continue in Davis Shores, one of the areas hardest-hit by the storm.

Davis Shores residents have questioned what the city will do to improve infrastructure, and they finally got some answers during Tuesday's town hall meeting held by the city of St. Augustine's Public Works Department.

"If you see just the sewers in the street here, water from the intercoastal literally backs up onto the street and it happens fairly regularly and it's really bad," said Julie Watson, a Davis Shores residents.

During the meeting, department officials revealed that flooding, power outages and control panel damage during the October hurricane cause multiple pump stations to fail.

So over the next five years, the department plans to invest $5.3 million to improve the city's sewer system and hopefully resolve the flooding issues.

The department also announced a "Planned Backflow Prevention Project," in which retro valves that get rid of water without tide water flowing in will be installed throughout the Davis Shores community.

Officials said they are still working on solutions, but they believe the plans are a start.

"We're doing some different things that all fall under the class of improving defensiveness and adaptation and those are the big things. My home, for instance, that was flooded, the materials that I am using in the home, I'm tiling the entire home -- no carpet," City Manager John Regan said.

The Public Works Department said it will present the projects to the City Commission at the end of this month. Officials said they will also share the comments and questions they heard from Davis Shores residents during Tuesday's town hall meeting.