Tag Archive for: Sprint Sand and Clay

Woodridge Village Excavation Surpasses 100,000 Cubic Yards

In the four weeks since my last update, Harris County Flood Control District’s (HCFCD) contractor has excavated another 11,000 cubic yards of dirt from Woodridge Village. That means Sprint Sand and Clay has removed a total of 104,000 cubic yards since it started work under its Excavation and Removal Contract a little more than a year ago.

Sprint is removing the dirt from what will become a sixth stormwater detention basin on the former Perry Homes site. The lack of adequate detention capacity on the site contributed to flooding hundreds of homes in Kingwood twice back in 2019, before HCFCD purchased the property.

New Excavation Already Second Largest on Site

Already, at 62 acre feet, the new basin ranks as the second largest stormwater detention basin on the 268-acre site. Woodridge Village’s five original basins had the following capacities:

  • N1 = 13.2 acre feet
  • N2 = 154.7 acre feet
  • N3 = 42 acre feet
  • S1 = 18.6 acre feet
  • S2 = 42.5 acre feet

The new detention basin could more than double capacity on the site. Ultimately, it will exceed Atlas 14 requirements.

Here’s where the original five are located.

Locations and sizes of first five stormwater detention basins shown in blue.

The new basin will go between N2 and S1.

Woodridge Village Excavation and Removal
Location of new basin outlined in red.

Progress by the Numbers

The 11,000 cubic yards excavated in the last 28 days averages 2,750 cubic yards per week. That’s an increase of 220 cubic yards per week compared to the previous month. It’s also 1,000 cubic yards per week more than the weekly average since the start of the contract.

The current monthly rate more than doubles the minimum required under Sprint’s contract.

The excavation of 100,000 cubic yards marks yet another milestone. Sprint has now removed more than 20% of the 500,000 cubic yards allowed under the contract.

February vs. March Photos

To get a feeling for just how much 11,000 cubic yards is, compare these photos taken at the ends of February and March.

Extent of excavation for new Woodridge Village Detention Basin as of 3/5/23
End of February
End of March: excavation stretches much farther into the distance.

A Head Start on Construction

In December 2022, HCFCD revealed the results of its analysis of alternatives to reduce flooding adjacent to Woodridge and Taylor Gully. HCFCD is now working on finalizing those plans.

Excavation and removal contracts give HCFCD a head start on construction while engineers finish plans. This compresses the timetable.

The contract also saves taxpayers money. It gives Sprint the right to remove up to 500,000 cubic yards for a grand total of only $1000. Sprint makes its money by selling the dirt at market rates to home- and road builders. The only restriction: the dirt can’t be placed in the floodplain.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/4/2023

2044 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.

July Update: Woodridge Village Excavation Rate Slows Slightly

The pace of excavation and removal of up to 500,000 cubic yards of soil from Woodridge Village has slowed slightly in recent months. That may be due to rising interest rates, which have slowed housing starts. Contractors use excavated dirt to elevate homesites in new developments. But the Census Bureau says housing starts in June 2022 fell 6.3% below the June 2021 rate.

Woodridge Village Background

Woodridge Village was the failed 670-acre Perry Homes development that twice contributed to flooding hundreds of homes in Kingwood’s Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest Villages in 2019. Harris County and the City of Houston bought the property in 2021 to help reduce flood risk. They plan to do this by building another detention basin.

Perry left the site about 40% short of the floodwater detention capacity needed to meet current Atlas-14 requirements. Since then, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) entered into an “Excavation and Removal” contract (E&R) with Sprint Sand and Clay to begin removing additional soil. The goal: to get a head start on building an additional detention basin that would meet OR exceed Atlas-14 requirements.

Harris County Commissioners Court approved the contract with Sprint Sand and Clay on July 20, 2021. It obligates Sprint to remove at least 5000 cubic yards per month. Excavation started on January 27, 2022. 

During July, Sprint removed approximately 6,400 cubic yards of dirt.

HCFCD spokesperson Amy Stone

To date, Sprint has removed 48,860 yards of material. That’s 18,860 cubic yards more than the contract minimum for six months. And 1,400 cubic yards more than the minimum for July. So you can see that the rate of removal is dipping slightly.

At almost 50,000 cubic yards for 6 months (or 100,000 yards per year), it would take 5 years for Sprint to reach the maximum. However, by contract, Sprint has 36 months. If Sprint continues to average 6,000 cubic yards per month for another 30 months, it would remove a total of 229,000 cubic yards before the end of the contract term ([30×6000]+ 49,000). 

So at some point, Sprint will have to sprint to catch up if they want to remove all 500,00 cubic yards.

Recent Photos Show Growth of Basin

Here’s what the site looked like before and after July’s excavation activity.

End of June
Woodridge Village E&R as of 6/30/22
Excavation at end of June 2022. Note where the upper right boundary of the pit stops relative to the storm-sewer pipes at far right.

End of July

End of July 2022.
Looking south over eastern edge of pond. Newly excavated area is at left (darker dirt).

About E&R Contracts

E&R contracts provide a head start on construction of detention basins before completion of their final design. 

Sprint has agreed to remove up to half a million cubic yards of soil for only $1000. But it makes its money back by selling the soil for a profit on the open market. This provides virtually free excavation to taxpayers and virtually free raw material to Sprint. HCFCD has spent only $230 on the project so far. But the tradeoffs are speed and certainty.

The property above forms the headwaters of Taylor Gully. When HCFCD finishes its Taylor Gully study, things may change.

Final Needs Contingent on Outcome of Taylor Gully Study

HCFCD hired Idcus, Inc. in mid-2021 to develop up to five conceptual alternatives for modifying Taylor Gully. Scenarios may include:

  • Expanding Detention On Woodridge Village so that no channel improvements are necessary.
  • Determining amount of detention and channel improvements necessary to ensure no adverse impact all the way to Lake Houston.
  • Finding the optimum balance between maximum flood protection and minimum construction costs.
Deliverables include:
  • Channel and basin layouts
  • Estimates of benefits for various levels of storms (100-year, etc.)
  • Right-of-way requirements
  • Cost estimates for right-of-way acquisition, engineering and construction management.
  • Performance metrics, i.e., estimated acreage of land inundation, number of structures in floodplain, number of structures flooded and miles of inundated roadway.
  • A scoring matrix to rank alternatives.
The red dots show location of current excavation relative to entire scope of Idcus project, from yellow polygon on left to end of red line in forest on right.

Idcus should be done with the study soon. In the meantime, residents will have to settle for the virtually free head start we get.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/31/2022

1797 Days since Hurricane Harvey

1182 Days since May 7, 2019

1049 Days since TS Imelda