Harris County Flood Control District’s (HCFCD) Woodridge Village Excavation and Removal contract for 500,000 cubic yards with Sprint Sand & Clay is almost one-quarter complete. Sprint excavated approximately another 9,000 cubic yards in May (5.8 acre feet). That’s almost double the monthly minimum and brings the total up to 123,882 cubic yards.
Stormwater from Woodridge Village flooded hundreds of homes twice in 2019. The excavation will provide additional stormwater detention capacity to reduce flood risk downstream in the future.
May/June Photos Show Progress
The first two photos below were taken at the beginning of May and June 2023.
Up until now, Sprint has been excavating from west to east. Now, they seem to be excavating primarily from south to north.
HCFCD spokesperson Amy Crouser said that, “Essentially, the contractor is free to excavate where they want within the provided footprint.”
Where Does Woodridge Village Excavation Go From Here?
Sprint has excavated 76.8 acre feet so far. That brings the current detention capacity (old plus new) to 348 acre feet. That’s 90% of what Woodridge Village needs to meet Atlas-14 requirements.
Here’s how all that looks in a table.
Acre Feetof Stormwater Detention
% of Ultimate
Site Had When Purchased from Perry Homes
Has as of 6/4/23
Atlas 14 Requires
If Sprint Excavates All 500K Cubic Feet
Calculations based on original construction plans, HCFCD monthly reports, Atlas-14 Requirements and Sprint contract.
Sprint’s contract calls for excavating UP TO 500,000 cubic yards. Any excavation beyond Atlas-14 needs would create a safety hedge against future needs should they increase.
Sprint will make only $1,000 from its Woodridge Village excavation contract, but will make its profit by selling the dirt at market rates. It’s a good deal for taxpayers, but carries some uncertainty with it.
A lot of flexibility exists for both parties in an E&R contract. If the demand for dirt dries up and excavation slows, HCFCD and Sprint could modify the E&R contract to complete a smaller detention basin sooner. But I assume it would still meet Atlas 14 requirements at a minimum.
But simply excavating the dirt isn’t the end of the job. Harris County still needs to slope the sides, plant grass, and tie the new basin into the site’s existing stormwater-detention-basin network.
HCFCD and Harris County Purchasing are currently evaluating consultants’ bids to draw up the final construction plans.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/5/2023
2106 Days since Hurricane Harvey
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/20230604-DJI_0952.jpg?fit=1200%2C799&ssl=17991200adminadmin2023-06-05 14:19:222023-06-05 14:44:31In May, Woodridge Village Excavation Total Reached Almost 124,000 Cubic Yards
The rate of excavation for another stormwater detention basin on the Woodridge Village property picked up 47% in the last five weeks. That’s compared to the weekly average since Sprint Sand and Clay began excavating last year under the terms of its Excavation and Removal (E&R) contract with Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD).
March 6, 2023, Sprint has excavated 93,023 CY, according to HCFCD.
Dividing the difference by five weeks, yields an average of 2,532.6 CY per week.
The weekly average since the start of excavation 54 weeks ago equals 1722.7 CY.
So, the February/early March data is an increase of more than 800 cubic yards per week compared to the long-term average, a 47% increase.
Demand for dirt under E&R contracts varies with housing starts and road construction. Housing starts have slowed greatly in recent months as interest rates have increased to cool inflation. It’s not clear yet whether the increased rate of excavation represents a temporary blip or the beginning of a turnaround in the market for dirt.
Then and Now Photos
Here’s the extent of excavation on the new pond as of January 24, 2023.
Here’s how the new basin looks today from approximately the same location – much longer!
Increased Rate is Welcome News
The increase in the excavation rate is welcome news for residents who flooded twice in 2019, thanks in large part to Woodridge Village construction practices. Perry Homes left the aborted development about 40% short of Atlas-14 requirements. Since then HCFCD and the City of Houston bought the site and are working on ways to reduce flood risk.
2015 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 1264 since Imelda
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.
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/20230304-DJI_0190.jpg?fit=1200%2C799&ssl=17991200adminadmin2023-03-06 15:31:292023-04-03 15:55:23Rate of Woodridge Village Excavation Increases 47%
A new floodwater detention basin that will ultimately more than double the capacity of Woodridge Village is expanding slowly but steadily. To date, 33,159 cubic yards have been excavated! The pictures below show progress since the start of work in late January.
Sprint has agreed to remove up to 500,000 Cubic Yards of dirt for only $1,000. However, it has the right to sell the dirt at market rates to make a profit. But the dirt can only elevate structures outside of current floodplains.
Three Months Into Contract, Beating the Minimums
When Perry Homes finished its planned floodwater detention basins, it had enough capacity to hold a hundred year rain as defined by pre-Atlas-14 standards. But capacity fell 40% short of Atlas-14 requirements.
The addition of the new detention basin should take capacity well beyond Atlas-14 requirements and create a safety margin that accommodates additional upstream development.
Excavation under an E&R contract can have ups and downs. When construction booms, excavation moves along quickly. But when construction slows, excavation can, too. However, the contract does have minimum excavation requirement of 10,000 cubic yards per month written into it.
At 36,000 cubic yards after roughly 2.5 months, Sprint exceeds the minimum. But if that rate continues, it could take another four years to reach 500,000 cubic yards.
At some point, the county may choose to step in and pay market rates for excavation to speed things up. But until then, every truckload hauled out of Woodridge Village by Sprint will reduce the ultimate cost.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/18/2022
1693 Days after Hurricane Harvey
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/20220417-DJI_0241.jpg?fit=1200%2C799&ssl=17991200adminadmin2022-04-18 17:12:172022-04-18 17:20:21Progress Report New Woodridge Village Floodwater Detention Basin
Here’s something to give thanks for on Thanksgiving. Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) announced Wednesday, 11/24/21, that Sprint Sand & Clay could begin excavation of another large detention pond on the Woodridge Village property as early as November 29. Lack of detention pond capacity on the property while it was being cleared contributed to flooding hundreds of homes in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest twice in 2019.
Not Enough Detention Pond Capacity Existed to Meet Atlas-14 Requirements
Thus, the twice-flooded homeowners have been living in constant fear since then of every storm that passes overhead. PTSD caused some to postpone home restoration or even move away. So this should come as great news to the community.
Sprint Sand & Clay will excavate material as needed under the terms of an HCFCD E&R contract. E&R stands for Excavation & Removal. HCFCD will pay Sprint just $1000 to excavate 500,000 cubic yards. Sprint then has the right to resell the dirt to developers, contractors and road builders at market rates.
Creating Extra Capacity
When Perry left the site, it had constructed 271 acre feet of detention. The site needed another 108.4 acre feet of detention pond capacity to meet Atlas-14 requirements, but will get 310 (the number of acre feet in 500,000 cubic yards). That almost triples the required additional volume and more than doubles the current capacity…all for $1000.
That extra capacity will create a margin of safety for residents in case expected rainfall rates increase again in the future.
It will also create a buffer against future development. For instance, it should help those downstream on Taylor Gully where it joins White Oak Creek. Rapid development continues upstream on White Oak Creek.
Nature of Contract Will Lower Cost, but Could Extend Completion Date
Thus, Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest residents might see furious excavation activity one month and none the next.
Regardless, HCFCD checks progress periodically with drones. And if Sprint looks like it is not complying, HCFCD has the right to terminate the contract. Otherwise, removal of the dirt could take up to three years.
The contract gives Sprint the right to sell the dirt anywhere with one condition. The ultimate placement must be outside any known floodplain – including the 500-year/0.02% annual chance floodplain.
This is the first time HCFCD has signed such a contract for work outside of Harris County. Woodridge Village sits in Montgomery County immediately north of the county line.
HCFCD started using E&R contracts all over Harris County long before the Bond. It was a way to show progress on detention basins that HCFCD had no money to build. The Cutten Road, Lauder Road, and Aldine-Westfield basins on Greens Bayou all started with E&R contracts.
Pond Will Go in Southern Section of Woodridge
The detention pond excavation will take place close to Sherwood Trails and Elm Grove to help intercept water coming off the steep northern portion of the site. See the green area below.
The new pond will also border the road that Perry built into the site. That will help facilitate removal of the dirt. See the photo below.
Construction Must Observe Stormwater Quality Requirements
HCFCD emphasized that all normal stormwater quality precautions will remain in effect. Rain that falls during excavation will be pumped into one of the site’s existing detention ponds (on the right in the photo above) to keep sediment from migrating downstream. That’s important because HCFCD just finished excavating Taylor Gully to restore its conveyance. No one wants to see it get plugged up again.
Site Closed During Construction
The construction work involves heavy machinery. Physical barriers and safety signage alerting visitors will be placed at access points. Residents should follow all posted signs and remain clear of the construction zone.
Trucks Will Work Around High-School Schedule
HCFCD has coordinated the contractor’s work schedule with administrators at Kingwood Park High School and Humble ISD to avoid arrival and departure times at the high school.
HCFCD officials emphasized that the final dimensions of the pond could change as excavation proceeds. But dimensions should be determined long before Sprint finishes excavation.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/25/2021
1549 Days since Hurricane Harvey
https://i0.wp.com/reduceflooding.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/20211123-Project-Location-Map-Woodridge-Basin.jpg?fit=1200%2C774&ssl=17741200adminadmin2021-11-24 16:00:312021-11-27 06:13:36Excavation of Additional Woodridge Village Detention Pond to Begin Soon