Hurricane Harvey produced unprecedented rainfalls throughout the City of League City as well as the region. Parts of the community endured an estimated 49.84 inches of rain in five days, equaling nearly a years’ worth of rain. As a result of the storm’s impact, City Council directed staff to begin inventory efforts, mitigation and preventative studies to identify potential enhancements to our drainage codes and standards to prevent flooding. Staff initiated six separate neighborhood studies and design efforts focused on the most heavily impacted areas of our community. Bay Ridge was the first neighborhood selected to begin the studies.
To date, and as part of the City’s inventory effort, Bay Ridge’s current drainage system has been inspected and cleaned three different times. Once, shortly following Harvey with a comprehensive visual inspection throughout the inlets, outfalls and underground piping using a closed circuit TV camera system. Secondly, a visual inspection of the inlets and outfalls was conducted roughly five weeks ago, followed by another visual inspection immediately after the intense rainfall of Saturday, February 10. During the inspections, City staff did not observe blockages in the system that would solely account for the water levels in the neighborhood during the Harvey storm. Staff members did observe some root penetration and silting typical of older drainage systems, but not enough to be considered significant blockages to drainage flows. Public works staff has completed silt removal efforts adjacent to the outfalls into the adjacent detention pond.
In addition to the inventory effort described above, staff has been working with LJA Engineering Inc., a civil engineering group with expertise in hydrologic and hydraulic assessment and design. The group is assisting the City in developing both mitigation and preventative plans. In this case, mitigation being enhancements and corrections to Bay Ridges’ existing drainage system to better handle average rainfalls (what the existing system was intended to handle when designed and constructed in the 1970’s). Preventative designs are those that provide a higher design standard that will provide enhanced protection from unusually intensive rainfalls such as the region’s “Tax Day” event and the rains of February 10, 2018. The consultant working with City staff is finishing a draft document that specifies several potential mitigation alternatives and construction projects custom to the needs of the Bay Ridge neighborhood.
City staff has set a community meeting with the residents of Bay Ridge, the engineering consultant, and staff to present the draft study, receive input, and have an open discussion to assure that we did not miss any viable alternatives. This meeting will be held on Thursday, March 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center located at 400 West Walker Street. A public meeting has also been set for the residents of Oaks of Clear Creek and will take place on Wednesday, March 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center. The next steps following the community meetings will be to amend the reports, present the findings to City Council, and determine a path forward. In addition to working on regional areas like Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou, other specific studies being conducted include the following communities: Bay Ridge (Gum Bayou), Hidden Oaks Drive (Kelly’s ditch/ Clear Creek), Landing, Rustic Oaks, Countryside (Magnolia Creek and Landing Ditch), Bay Colony (Magnolia and Bordens Gully), Dove Meadows, and the Meadows (Robinson Bayou).