HARRISONBURG — The Harrisonburg Public Works Department has begun a new program to improve water quality in the city.
The program, called Harrisonburg Conservation Assistance Program, is an expansion in the city’s stormwater management program and also aims to alleviate small drainage issues, according to a press release.
It is an urban cost-shared program that provides financial incentives and technical assistance to property owners installing the stormwater projects into their property, Environmental Compliance Manager Rebecca Stimson said during a presentation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
HCAP is based on a statewide program called the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Stimson said city staff decided to implement a local program so the city could have more flexibility with the projects offered, along with a more stable source of funding through the city’s Stormwater Utility Fee that will go to residents so that they aren’t competing with Virginia residents statewide.
The city is providing the Stormwater Utility Fee funds to the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District to administer the program.
Applications will be opened up July 1 with the deadline Aug. 15.
The city provides funding to the district for program assistance, technical assistance and project cost share reimbursement, according to Simson.
Eligible projects include permeable pavement, rain gardens and rainwater harvesting.
Rain gardens are a shallow landscaped depression that incorporates pollutant removal mechanisms and allows for the infiltration of runoff, according to Stimson’s presentation.
The green roof is an alternative vegetated roof with waterproofing and drainage materials.
Permeable pavement is an alternative pavement surface that allows stormwater runoff to filter through the voids while infiltrating into the soil underneath.
To be a part of the program, the property owner must contact the district and set up an appointment to review the potential project ideas get an application.
Other program options include conservation landscaping, meadows and tree plantings, rainwater harvesting and bioretention, which is the process in which contaminants are removed from stormwater runoff into a treatment area such as a sand bed, ponding area, plants or a grass buffer strip.
Stimson said there is a 70 percent cost-share cap.
“HCAP would pay 70 percent of the cost up to a capped amount and then the property would pay the rest of the amount,” she said during her Tuesday presentation.
Stimson said there was a permeable pavement put in on Hill Street in 2017 by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Part of the application includes a site visit by district staff and three quotes.
For projects that won’t need an engineer, a project plan must be completed by the owner.
For properties that require engineer assistance, a feasible study or project design will need to be submitted.
The applications will be ranked and property owners will be notified following the Aug. 15 deadline as to whether they can proceed or not.
To learn more about the project and the cost share cap, visit https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/hcap.