Jefferson County DD7 issues statement regarding drainage during Harvey

JEFFERSON COUNTY - Jefferson County Drainage District 7 has issued a statement saying they did not experience any pump failure during Hurricane Harvey.

This statement comes after many questions were raised over the operation of pumps in South Jefferson County.

DD7 manager Phil Kelley says that the amount of rainfall was too much for DD7’s ability to manage the drainage needs of South Jefferson County.”

Kelley wrote to 12 News, saying:

“The historic levels of rain created unprecedented flooding that exceeded the system’s capabilities. DD7’s water pumps were fully operational and did not experience any sort of failure at the Crane Bayou or Alligator Bayou Pump Stations during the height of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall. DD7’s pump stations were also fully manned and its employees continued to work through the entire event, even as some of the pump stations flooded.”

“DD7’s water pumps at the Crane Bayou and Alligator Bayou Pump Stations were fueled and operating at full capacity during the periods of heavy rainfall and excessive flooding.

DD7’s water pumps can operate at full capacity for approximately 72 hours. If you factor in the elevation of headwater on the discharge side of the pumps, the time at which the pumps can operate at full capacity decreases due to reduced diesel fuel efficiency.

At approximately 9:00pm on Wednesday, August 30, the Crane Bayou Pump Station ran out of fuel. Due to the excessive flooding, the local vendor contracted to supply fuel to the pump station was unable to access the facility via the Procter Street extension. The Crane Bayou Pump Station was re-supplied with diesel fuel and returned to full pumping capacity by 5pm on Thursday, August 31.

Beginning late in the evening of Wednesday, August 30, and into the early morning of Thursday, August 31, three of the four pumps at Alligator Bayou Pump Station were eventually taken offline due to low fuel levels.  Diesel fuel supply was re-established before noon on Thursday and all 4 pumps were once again pumping at full capacity.

It’s important to reiterate that the unprecedented rainfall and excessive flood levels exceeded DD7’s ability to manage the drainage needs of South Jefferson County.

Background:

DD7 is one of three drainage districts in Jefferson County, and it serves to provide storm water management and hurricane flood protection needs of South Jefferson County. The district covers more than 107 square miles and encompasses the cities of Groves, Nederland, Port Arthur, Port Neches, and unincorporated territories of Jefferson County.

DD7’s Port Arthur & Vicinity Hurricane Flood Protection Levee System is a Federal project designed and constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers as a result of storm surge and associated spot flooding from Hurricane Carla in 1961. Today, DD7, as the local sponsor of the federal project, operates and maintains 281 miles of concrete and earthen outfall ditches, 36 miles of levees, and 20 pump stations with a combined pumping capacity of 8.2 million gallons a minute. It currently takes 75 employees to fully maintain and operate our systems and infrastructure.

Our region receives on average 53 inches of rain per year. In just a 5-day period, Hurricane Harvey rainfall totaled more than 64 inches at one of our rain gauges in Nederland. That rain gauge also recorded more than 31 inches in one 24-hour period on Wednesday, August 30.  DD7’s rain gauges zero out at midnight.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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