What’s being done (or not done) to control flooding in our neighborhood?
In 2021, after years of outreach by Woodcrest Houston residents and representatives of the Woodcrest Neighborhood Civic Association (WNCA) to the City of Houston’s District C and local media, the Woodcrest Storm Water Action Team (SWAT) Project Area was created by the City of Houston to explore and address prevalent neighborhood flooding problems. Specifically, the problems outlined below continue to exist:
• Storm sewer lines are undersized.
• Portions of roadside ditches are filled in, and driveway culverts are undersized.
• Flooding occurs at regular rain events (since 2015, more than 60 complaints have been registered with the City of Houston’s 311 service and more than 30 complaints dealing with flooding have been filed with FEMA).
• At least 10 street flooding events have happened since 2015.
• Stormwater exceeds Right-of-Way storage capacity.
The goal of the Woodcrest SWAT Project is to provide a two-year Level of Service (LOS) in our neighborhood with a potential for future improvements. Three improvements were identified as needed:
(1) Improve drainage system.
(2) Re-establish ditches, replace culverts, and upsize storm sewer.
(3) Alleviate ponding and flooding.
How can residents support the Woodcrest SWAT Project and help mitigate the impact of regular flooding in Woodcrest Houston?
First, report all incidents of neighborhood flooding by calling 311 and also by contacting the Office of Council Member Abbie Kamin, District C, City of Houston by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (832) 393-3004.
Second, Philip Temple, local resident and WNCA Vice President, recommends, “We can keep our ditches clear of debris, keep our lawns and ditches trimmed and free of high grass, and report, report, report with 311 when stormwater drainage is not keeping up. The saying of ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ is true for affecting positive change for drainage in our community.”
Sadly, it was noted that, during City Council meeting on June 22, 2022, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston’s approved 2022-2023 budget, which did include approval of the SWAT funding, but it did NOT include Woodcrest Houston as one of the community recipients. We are waiting to hear from the Office of Council Member Abbie Kamin as to why Woodcrest was not included. Read the Mayor’s presentation HERE.
To get up to speed on the Woodcrest SWAT Project, please read the highlights below (followed by follow-up correspondence between Temple and Kamin’s office) about the Woodcrest SWAT presentation presented by the City of Houston’s Public Works division on November 8, 2021.
PHASE 1: Improve Roadside Ditches and Storm Sewer System to Alleviate Ponding and Flooding on Cohn, Knox, Birdsall, Allen, Malone, and Asbury streets
• Re-grade existing ditches and upsize driveway culverts (min. 24”).
• Replace substandard inlets with BB Inlets
PHASE 1: Improve Roadside Ditch and Storm Sewer System to Alleviate Ponding and Flooding on Cohn St.
• Install 30” Reinforced Concrete Pipe (RCP) underneath the west ditch for additional capacity.
PHASE 1A and PHASE 1B: Combined for FY22
• Improve drainage by re-grading existing ditches and upsizing the driveway culverts to alleviate ponding and flooding.
•. Install a storm sewer system to provide additional capacity.
• Provide the two-year Level of Service with potential for future improvements.
|Drainage Study (FY21) Cost (A)||Design Cost (B)||Estimated Construction Cost (C)||Estimated Total Cost (A+B+C)|
|PHASE 1B||$ 80,000||$ 900,000||$ 980,000|
FUTURE PLANS – POSSIBLE PHASE 2
(1) Evaluate alternatives to provide additional capacity within the existing trunk lines on Detering and/or Crestwood streets.
(2) Establish a Railroad Ditch Vegetation Control & Maintenance Program by coordinating with the railway companies to rehabilitate ditches along the railroad tracks.
UPDATES TO WOODCREST ON SWAT PROJECT FROM OFFICE OF COUNCIL MEMBER ABBIE KAMIN
AUGUST 30, 2022 RESPONSE FROM KAMIN OFFICE TO WOODCREST: [The Office of Council Member Abbie Kamin has] spoken at length to CenterPoint Energy (CNP) regarding the relocation of the gas lines. CNP will have to go through the same process of design, bid, and construction/relocation of the conflicting gas mains. They do not typically work during the winter months because they don’t want the customers to face gas service interruptions and lose their heating capability. We understand the citizens’ concerns and are working closely with CNP to expedite this, and have these relocations done in a timely manner.
JULY 19, 2022 RESPONSE FROM WOODCREST TO KAMIN OFFICE: [Woodcrest Houston neighbors] are glad that the design was completed for Woodcrest Phase 1A and 1B work. However, it was delayed from August 2022 to Q1/Q2 2023. Since 2018, when a work order was originally created for the work in Woodcrest and prior to the Hydraulic and Hydrologic (H&H) Study in 2021 for the Woodcrest neighborhood specifically, it was known that CNP needed work on the company’s gas lines.
BELOW ARE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS POSED TO KAMIN OFFICE FROM WOODCREST (questions in bold from Temple on behalf of the neighborhood; answers in italics from Kamin’s office)
JULY 19, 2022: Have the railroad companies responded back about the Maintenance Program to rehabilitate ditches along railroad tracks? The initial list has been submitted to the railroad companies. The railroad company will review these locations submitted and will perform maintenance work at their own discretion. We will keep inquiring about this location (and others submitted) during our quarterly meetings.
JULY 19, 2022: Is there a timeframe to address the area along Allen St. in Woodcrest? The design for this project is complete. However, we have been informed by CNP that there are multiple utility conflicts (gas and power pole) in the area that needs to be addressed prior to start of drainage improvements. Unfortunately, CNP has advised us that the gas relocation may not happen until after the winter months (around March/April 2023). This will delay start of the project until next year. We will keep you posted on the construction start timeline.
JULY 19, 2022: What is the status of the longer term H&H study for Phase 2? Has it started? The consultants have identified potential alternatives in their draft tech memo. Our office is reviewing these alternative(s) from a feasibility and constructability standpoint. [Kamin’s office] will select the most feasible alternative, which will potentially have the least number of conflicts from other private and public utilities. Upon selection of the alternative, the consultants will finalize and submit the drainage report.