The next time the chance of a flood threatens the Bayridge subdivision, League City will activate its new emergency pump plan for the neighborhood.
The new policy requires the city to buy an 8-inch pump that will cost between $60,000 and $75,000, City Manager John Baumgartner said.
The city council approved the policy 7-0 at its April 10 meeting after Councilman Hank Dugie got it on the agenda as he promised Bayridge residents March 27 at a public meeting about possible drainage solutions.
“I’m grateful that policy was passed, and I hope that it will be a good start to get us moving towards permanent solutions,” resident Marika Fuller said.
Hurricane Harvey hit Galveston County on Aug. 25 and parts of League City started flooding Aug. 26. Bayridge homes soaked in floodwater for four days. Residents blamed the city for not maintaining the detention pond where water did not drain in the days after Harvey. They also accused the city of not caring before or after Harvey. But city officials have disputed those claims.
Frustrated residents at the March 27 meeting said they wanted some specific action right away in addition to the more political, long-term and expensive projects, so Dugie offered to get an emergency plan in front of the council as soon as possible.
The emergency pump policy is meant to supplement the existing drainage in the neighborhood, City Engineer Christopher Sims said. Twenty-four hours before a hurricane is expected to make landfall, or if the city has had 8 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, city crews will take the pump out of storage and take it to the lowest point in the subdivision, Sims said.
“This does not prevent flooding,” Sims said. “If another Harvey comes through, this does not prevent this from happening.”
What it will do is empty water into Gum Bayou, Sims said. Gum Bayou, which runs along the eastern edge of the neighborhood, drains to the south into Dickinson Bayou.
The extra water emptied into Gum Bayou isn’t significant enough to create problems for people downstream, Baumgartner said.
Until the city can buy the new 8-inch pump, crews can use 6-inch pumps the city already has at the Dallas Salmon Wastewater Treatment facility, Sims said.
When the retention pond, which has the capacity to hold 7 feet of water, gets as high as 5 feet, that’s when the pump would get turned on, Sims said. The pump will stay on until the water level in the pond drops to 2 feet, he said.
In addition to staging the pump 24 hours before a hurricane hits land or after 8 inches of rainfall in one day, Public Works Director Jody Hooks also can choose to stage the pump at any time, according to the new policy.
The Public Works department is looking at building an access road off Bishop’s Bridge and two staging pads to make the process smoother, Baumgartner said. The work involved would be done with city crews and would take about a week, he said.
City officials are still working on other infrastructure improvements that could cost as much as $20 million for Bayridge, as well other expensive fixes in the other parts of town that also flooded.
“It’s just the first step in an effort to try to salvage that neighborhood,” Mayor Pat Hallisey said.
Money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will help pay for massive drainage projects the city is identifying through six engineering studies, officials said.