HOLIDAY — Federal Emergency Management Agency has pledged funds toward the first of three flood relief projects in Pasco County.

This FEMA funding will provide $1.55 million for the Forest Hills drainage project to alleviate chronic flooding issues that extend from Forest Hills into Country Estates in southwestern Pasco County.

The Forest Hills project will be completed within two years, at a total cost of $2.07 million, Pasco engineers estimate.

Pasco County Emergency Management and Pasco County Stormwater Management worked to secure this funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for Hurricane Hermine.

The Office of United States Sen. Marco Rubio notified county officials last week about this major step in the grant process, Pasco commissioners announced.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, also worked toward securing $1.56 million in federal funding for flood management in the Forest Hills neighborhood.

This neighborhood experiences chronic flooding stemming from significant rainfall events and extends from Forest Hills into Country Estates, Bilirakis explained in a press release. The project is designed to provide a 100-year protection for structures.

“Their losses were devastating,” Bilirakis commented in a press release after visiting numerous flooding victims after recent storms.

Bilirakis started by bringing in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund a needs assessment. He then advocated for federal aid.

“These funds will make a big difference in the lives of my constituents,” Bilirakis added. “It will mean not having to live in unsanitary conditions for weeks due to improper drainage and not having to completely start their lives over again every time there is a serious rain storm.”