Dirt from Woodridge being dumped at Laurel Springs RV Resort

Dirt Excavated from Woodridge Being Used to Build Up Laurel Springs RV Resort

Sprint Sand & Clay, the company hired by Harris County Flood Control to excavate 500,000 cubic yards of dirt from Woodridge Village, began hauling some of it to the controversial Laurel Springs RV Resort near Lakewood Cove this morning.

Wake-Up Calls

My phone started blowing up before breakfast with dozens of complaints about Sprint truck traffic. So, I began investigating. I first went to the Woodridge Village site. Drone photos and on-the-ground observations revealed that Sprint was indeed hauling dirt from the Woodridge Village excavation site.

SW corner of Woodridge Village taken Wednesday 2.9.22. Sprint trucks line up to haul off dirt.

I followed one of the trucks all the way to Laurel Springs Lane where I observed it dumping its load. Along the way and at each end, I saw many more Sprint trucks – up to four at a time. There was a veritable parade of dump trucks making round trips along Woodland Hills Drive, Kingwood Drive, Chestnut Ridge, and Laurel Springs Lane.

Orange truck from above enters RV site several minutes later and turns toward detention pond.
The orange truck dumps its load just north of the pond near an area marked as the 500-year floodplain. Other equipment spreads it out.

Will Storm Drains Be Adequate?

Sprint trucks had also dumped dirt near a new “north entrance” to the site.

In the shot above, note the ponding water from 0.2 inches of rain more than a week ago. The contractor’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan describes this soil as “silty sand” to a depth of 18 inches (Page 18).

They may want to recheck that before installing more storm drains.

Other Issues Noted Today

Most trucks that I observed used what has now become the “south” entrance. The fresh load of bullrock laid down days ago has already been covered with mud. That accounts for all the dirt tracked into the street.
While the storm sewers were still unprotected from dirt, at least a street sweeper was onsite today.
Another unprotected storm sewer and contractor taking water from City fire hydrant. Photo courtesy of Robin Seydewitz.
All the dump trucks I observed were this large size, not the kind that holds 10 cubic yards.

Good News/Bad News

The start of serious excavation at Woodridge Village comes as welcome news to the people of Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest who flooded twice in 2019. However, it’s equally worrisome to the people of Forest Cove and Lakewood Cove. Many expressed concerns about potential flooding.

Risks from Building Up Land

Should existing residents be concerned about that? Yes, was the answer I got from one respected hydrologist who spoke on condition of anonymity. He likened the built-up area to a berm and said that “You don’t want a berm to stop overland sheet flow.”

The elevation survey shown below comes from the RV park’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. It shows that the land naturally slopes from northeast to southwest. Building up the RV property would definitely prevent water from the NE from flowing in that direction. Sheet flow would divert south along Laurel Springs and put an evacuation route at risk.

Survey shown in developer’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan shows elevation going from 83.1 in the NE to 61.4 in the SW, a difference of more than 20 feet.

East to west along the southern boundary, the elevation drops from 67 feet at Laurel Springs to 61 feet near the railroad tracks.

Another risk is that sheet flow with nowhere else to go could back up Lakewood Cove storm sewers at the same time that the RV park is trying to pump water into them to compensate for its undersized detention pond.

Texas Water Code

Chapter 11.086 of the Texas Water Code covers situations like these.

If someone sustains water damage on their property due to a neighbor’s property, questions as to who may be liable may arise. Surface water runoff — most often caused by excess rainwater — is the common culprit. Texas law holds landowners responsible for damage to neighboring property due to diversion of surface water.

If you find the legal wording in the water code difficult to understand, visit this Texas State Law Library page for resources written in plainer English.

SWPPP Plan Good for Laugh-Out-Loud Moment

I received a copy of the RV Park’s SWPPP plan today from the TCEQ. Parts of it made me laugh out loud. For instance, the section about “Receiving Waters, Wetlands and Special Aquatic Sites” said:

“No existing wetlands or other special aquatic sites have been identified at or near this site [Emphasis added].”

Page 18 of Laurel Springs RV Park SWPPP prepared by Construction Eco Services

Obviously, they didn’t glance across the southern property line or consult the National Wetlands Database. I can’t wait to read the rest of this plan to uncover more gems.

From US Fish & Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory Mapper. The RV Park is going in just above the large green area labelled PF01A Future Edgewater Park.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/9/22

1625 Days since Hurricane Harvey