KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The City of Kinston is moving forward with a flood mitigation plan to protect residents and also prepare the area to weather future storms.

City of Kinston Public Service Director Steve Miller said a study with the Environmental Defense Fund showed that parts of Kinston are susceptible to flooding. City officials completed the study portion of the project and now, it is in the survey phase.

“Surveying is where they gather data out in the field, so they can design the actual physical improvements,” Miller said.

Flooding in Kinston is not a new issue.

“I think the biggest thing is that this has been an issue in Kinston for 50, over 100 years. It’s not a new issue, it gets worse, especially as storms get worse,” Miller said.

Kinston Mayor Don Hardy agreed.

“Hurricane Matthew, Floyd, Michael, Dorian, Isaias, so we have been inundated by flooding here in Kinston and Lenoir County,” Hardy said.

Hardy added the flood-prone areas would need both engineered and environmental controls.

“Covers and putting actual mechanical type things in place to help reduce flooding. Environmental controls are retention ponds, watersheds, things like natural type absorbing of water,” Hardy said.

The expected cost, Miller said, was in the millions.

“The early estimate we have right now, and we’re just really beginning the engineering work is about $16.5 million,” Miller said.

Since Kinston is still in the survey portion of the flood project, the earliest construction could begin is sometime in 2024. Hardy and others also said they are working hard to protect their citizens.

“I just want our folks to know that we are in the ditches, in the trenches, literally trying to figure out how to navigate these waters for our Kinstonians,” Hardy said.