Residents of the Bayridge subdivision on Tuesday said they felt like the city council wasn’t listening to them and they were worried about flooding again as rain fell across Galveston County through much of the week.
The next day, Councilman Greg Gripon called for a second pump to transfer water from the subdivision’s detention pond to help Bayridge residents whose homes were badly flooded during Hurricane Harvey a year ago. Gripon also said he would ask city staff to look into digging the neighborhood’s detention pond deeper and to install a pump station.
“I have been listening to Bayridge and have been since Day 1 after the hurricane,” Gripon said. “The city deployed a pump like they had planned, but a neighbor brought up putting out two and I didn’t see why not.”
The 433-home subdivision in eastern League City soaked in floodwater for four days after Hurricane Harvey hit Galveston County on Aug. 25, 2017.
Months after Hurricane Harvey hit the area, the city council approved a policy requiring staff to activate an 8-inch emergency pump to transfer water from the subdivision’s detention pond into Gum Bayou, officials said.
Gum Bayou runs along the eastern edge of the neighborhood and drains to the south into Dickinson Bayou.
But that one pump might not be enough, residents said.
Residents have worried the neighborhood might flood again as its detention pond strains to contain water after days of heavy rain in the area, said Marika Fuller, who lives in the subdivision.
About 10 inches of rain have fallen on League City since Monday, said Nikki Hathaway, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City.
And more rain is forecast in the coming days, Hathaway said.
“Through the end of Saturday, it’s looking like 2 to 3 inches for Galveston County,” she said. “Isolated areas will have stronger amounts.”
City staff spent Wednesday renting and moving a second pump out to the subdivision and had it pumping out water by late afternoon, Gripon said.
“We are grateful that Greg came through and listened to us at the meeting,” Fuller said.
The second pump seems to be helping contain the water better, Fuller said.
But protecting the subdivision against future flooding can’t stop there, Gripon said.
The council at its Sept. 25 meeting will discuss the possibility of installing a pump station that would be capable of handling 42,000 gallons a minute of water as recommended in a drainage study and also the possibility of digging the detention pond deeper, Gripon said.
“If you have a pump station in place, there’s no reason you can’t dig the detention pond deeper to handle the larger capacity,” Gripon said.
While many residents are worried about the possibility of flooding, city staff members haven’t activated the local emergency management center and don’t anticipate the recent rains will cause any of the creeks and bayous to go over their banks, said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for the city.
“The low-lying areas where it normally floods when there are heavy rains might flood, but we are not anticipating a Harvey-type event,” Greer Osborne said.
But some areas in Galveston County flooded for the second time since Harvey during recent rains.
The owners of a Dickinson day care, for instance, sank nearly $400,000 from recovery grants and their own money into rebuilding after Harvey, only to have it flood again, they said.
League City staff should consider funding a diversion canal that would go down state Highway 96 from Columbia Memorial Parkway, underneath state Highway 146, and empty into Galveston Bay, Gripon said.
“It’s my personal belief that there are too many subdivisions around the bayou that goes into Dickinson Bayou,” Gripon said. “A diversion canal could handle all of that and get it out to the bay.”
A series of projects to fortify the Bayridge subdivision from flooding such as Hurricane Harvey produced could cost more than $12.8 million for construction, and as much as $20 million in total, according to the results of a drainage study.