Since development of the Laurel Springs RV Resort started last October, the Centerpoint easement below the development has turned into a small lake. It’s not clear at this point what caused the lake to develop. Several theories come time mind: increased runoff; sediment blocking drains; heavy January rains; poorly drained soils; illegal discharges; or some combination of the above. Regardless, this raises the most common question I encounter these days. “What happens when a developer builds its land up and sends water onto my property?”
Here’s how the Centerpoint easement looked on October 25 last year when contractors started clearing land. Note the power lines in the small corridor left of the bigger one for railroad tracks. Also notice the tiny little ponds in the distance toward Hamblen Road at the top of the frame.
According to Weather.gov, the 30 year average for October is 5.46 inches. So we got a little more than an inch above normal. Yet the corridor had only tiny amounts of ponding water.
January Photo Shows Ponds Expanding
On January 9, we had a large rainfall event and a photo that day shows the ponds expanded.
But also note how the larger pond in the distance stops well short of Hamblen Road in top right of frame.
February Rainfall One Third of Normal, But Ponds Continue to Grow
But since January 8/9, we’ve had very little rain. Nevertheless, the ponds have expanded into what one resident called a “lake” that blocked her hike down the utility corridor. See below.
The amazing thing is that the “lake” grew despite very little rain in February. As the chart below shows, we got 1 inch which is one third of the monthly average of 2.97 inches. Moreover, we got no significant rain for the 7 weeks before I took the picture above.
Yet the lake now stretches almost all the way to Hamblen! It’s getting bigger! So where’s the water coming from?
Water Not Coming West, East or South
It didn’t come from west of the railroad tracks. Union Pacific elevated those several feet above ground level.
Laurel Springs Lane has storm sewers that would have intercepted water from the east.
And water doesn’t usually flow uphill, so it didn’t come from the south either.
Much of it probably came from the north and the detention pond below which the developers drained into Edgewater Park on January 29.
Prior to that, they also pumped water over the wall of the pond.
Addition of Fill
They’re also bringing in fill to build up the RV Resort higher than the property around them. As they do so, they have been pushing standing water toward the utility corridor.
Lake Expands on One-Third Average Rainfall!
The bottom line is this.
When you look around, there’s only one place this water could have come from.
I don’t want to beat this horse to death. But I get emails every day from people across northern Harris and southern Montgomery Counties. They worry about comparable issues. In essence, the emails say something like this: “A developer is building up land and flooding my property.”
I can understand the desire to build up land to avoid flooding on your own property. But we need to agree on ways to avoid flooding neighbors in the process. The answer probably lies in:
- Higher detention pond requirements – The pond on this property holds half the current requirement.
- Better construction practices and training, i.e., sloping all land toward detention ponds.
- Meaningful inspections and penalties by authorities.
- Publication of the penalties.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/28/2022
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