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October 27, 2017 2:22:39 PM CST

Harris County Flood Control District Estimates $74 million in Countywide Drainage Infrastructure Repairs

Sinkholes, Slope Failures and Other Erosion Damage Will Be Prioritized for Post-Harvey Projects

The Harris County Flood Control District has compiled a preliminary list of $74 million in priority repairs for Harris County’s bayous, creeks and other drainage infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, according to a recently completed county-wide assessment that is expected to eventually top $100 million.

While some priority repairs are already complete or in progress, the Flood Control District has verified approximately 500 additional repair projects totaling more than 150 channel miles across Harris County’s 22 watersheds. Those projects will be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies that assist in disaster recovery for reimbursement under the federal Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration. Meanwhile, the Flood Control District continues to review and prioritize more than 4,200 additional reports of sinkholes, slope failures and erosion for short-term or long-term repair. 

The Flood Control District recently launched an interactive map showing reported areas of erosion and channel debris, post-Harvey. Residents can use the map to locate the documented areas of concern identified by the Flood Control District as well as a photo of the damage. Additional information will be added as available.

“Hurricane Harvey, with its excessive rainfall and long duration, did extensive damage to the District’s drainage infrastructure,” said Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe. “Repairing that damage will require sustained effort over many months, working closely with our federal partners that will be helping fund these efforts. We ask for the public’s patience as we work our way through this process, focusing on the most severe damages first. Our goal is to restore our drainage system to pre-Harvey conditions as quickly as possible.”

As of mid-October, more than 4,290 reported areas of concern included:

  • Erosion – 1,474 points
  • Failed Concrete – 430 points
  • Failed Pipe – 524 points
  • Silt Build Up – 262 points
  • Sinkhole – 384 points
  • Slope Failure – 820 points
  • Concrete Void – 396 points

The Flood Control District considers a number of factors in prioritizing drainage infrastructure repair projects, including whether the damage poses an immediate and severe threat to residential or commercial areas, or to public infrastructure such as utilities or schools. Repairs such as sinkholes and slope failures, failed outfall pipes and concrete voids also are prioritized according to severity.

The $74 million estimate to repair countywide Harvey drainage infrastructure damage is preliminary and does not yet include repairs to stormwater detention basins. The number of priority repair projects will likely grow, and the total cost of those repairs is expected to exceed $100 million. Final estimates will be available as Flood Control District staff set individual project limits and perform additional assessments.

Since Hurricane Harvey hit in late August, the Flood Control District has committed almost $6 million in local dollars for initial emergency repairs and authorized nearly $4 million in projects, which are eligible for federal reimbursements.

SPECIAL NOTE: During our recent assessment of Harris County bayous and creeks, heavy erosion was noted in multiple locations. Heavy erosion can lead to slope failures and property damage. The Flood Control District has limited property rights in some areas where adjacent land is privately owned. The Flood Control District does not perform channel repair projects on private property. Property owners should be aware of erosion caused by Hurricane Harvey and may take steps to protect their property from further damage. 

About the Harris County Flood Control District

The Harris County Flood Control District provides flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. With more than 1,500 bayous and creeks totaling approximately 2,500 miles in length, the Flood Control District accomplishes its mission by devising flood damage reduction plans, implementing the plans and maintaining the infrastructure.