WLHP flood from Developer

WLHP Developer Still Flooding Neighborhood

Overnight, the gauge at West Lake Houston Parkway (WLHP) and the West Fork received 1.44 inches of rain. And once again, runoff from Trammell Crow’s High Street Residential apartment complex on WLHP flooded surrounding streets and neighbors.

Visit from Engineering, Pollution Control and Constables

Harris County Engineering made a series of visits to the work site earlier this week in an effort to bring the developer into compliance with stormwater regulations. Harris County Constables and Harris County Pollution Control even accompanied the engineering staff to the site on 2/1/24.

After that visit, a member of the engineering staff told a neighbor that work at the site had been shut down until contractors came into compliance. Reportedly, mitigation work was the only work allowed on the site. But evidently, the developer had other priorities.

Sediment-laden runoff from construction sites is one of the main sources of sediment pollution in rivers and lakes. It has been linked to blockages that contribute to flooding.

Changes Between 2/1/24 and 2/2/24

On Friday, 2/2/24, I paid the site the Trammell Crow construction site a visit and saw some stormwater-mitigation work in progress. Specifically, contractors appeared to have:

  • Dug a small pond to let sediment settle out of water.
  • Dug a channel toward it.
  • Cleared muck off the sidewalk on Kings Park Way.
  • Placed a short length of wattle roll between the street and worksite along Kings Park Way. (Wattle is a temporary erosion control and sediment control device used on construction sites to protect water quality in nearby streams, rivers, lakes. During rain storms, the rolls intercept surface stormwater runoff and reduce the velocity of flow.) 
  • Placed wattle in front of one of the two storm drains on Kings Park Way along the southeast side of the development.
  • Erected a six-foot-high privacy fence around three sides of the site.
  • Stationed a guard at the worksite entrance. They clearly didn’t want anyone documenting what they were or weren’t doing.

Had they spent as much time erecting a runoff barrier as they did the visual barrier, they might have prevented another stormwater debacle.

Other work unrelated to stormwater mitigation also appeared to be underway at the site Friday afternoon.

Still No Results

By 8 am Saturday morning (8/3/24), my phone was blowing up. Irate neighbors were sending me videos. Once again, Kings Park Way and West Lake Houston Parkway were being flooded.

Screen capture from video sent by reader 8:43am 2/3/24. For full video, click here or on image.

By 10:30 am, the same intersection looked like this.

Someone had removed the wattle and a sand bag to let the street drain. Note the new privacy fence in background.

That’s one way to solve a street-flooding problem. Flush the silty muck down the storm drain.

At noon, here’s what you could see elsewhere with a drone.

Looking toward the same troubled corner from the other side of the fence. Note water seeping underneath.
Elsewhere, they had begun digging a trench to channel water toward the sediment pond.
But the trench from the troubling corner did not reach the sediment pond.

Unprotected Perimeter Remained

Beyond the main entry, no silt fence and water leaking under privacy fence, which was leaning over.
At the back of the property, no fence at all and water flowing into neighboring property.
Water was escaping all along the back of the property.

Perhaps the developer should have spent more time controlling stormwater and less time concealing the site with a half mile of privacy fence.

It makes me wonder whether their values are misplaced.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/3/24

2349 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.