$41.3M in flood control improvements approved; see details and potential timelines

Published 12:14 am Friday, February 2, 2024

Four new drainage projects are in the works to improve drainage in downtown Port Arthur and other areas thanks to newly released funding.

Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 is one of 10 counties awarded funding from the Texas General Land Office.

The flood control improvements funding totals $41.3 million.

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Allen Sims, assistant general manager of DD7, said one of the projects is the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Shreveport Pump Station.

This is expected to go along with the City of Port Arthur’s plan to upgrade drainage in the downtown area.

A second part of the total project is upgrades to approximately nine pump stations in DD7. Sims said the upgrades include adding generators, replacing generators and electrical upgrades to provide more reliable operation and more efficient pump capacity.

The pump stations are scattered across the drainage district.

DD7 has a total of 20 pump stations and nine to 10 will be worked on with this portion of the project. Two of the pump stations are fairly new and do not need any work, according to Sims.

The third part of the project is adding Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, or SCADA, monitoring and operation for all of the pump stations to “enhance our public outreach.”

By this, Sims means there will be data on the pumps available for the general public to view online. This technology is already available for Sims and other DD7 personnel.

The fourth part of the project is expanding the Halbouty Detention Pond.

This is located near The Medical Center of Southeast Texas off Jimmy Johnson Boulevard and Texas 73.

There are currently 350 acres, and DD7 plans to add infrastructure to expand approximately 400 acres.

Sims said this doesn’t mean they will be digging 400 acres of land but instead will be putting in a bridge, siphon and gate structure and digging approximately 20 acres. This allows the drainage district to expand the current 350 acres and add another 40 acres storage.

This, in turn, allows drainage improvement in Nederland and Port Neches without negatively impacting Port Arthur.

Main C canal runs up to an area south of the Jack Brooks Regional Airport and the Nederland area, while Main B canal comes across the Babe Didrikson Golf Course to Port Neches.

This, Sims said, does not negatively impact downtown Port Arthur.

“These are improvements we’ve been needing to do for years but did not have the funding for,” Sims said. “We are very grateful for the State of Texas for providing the funding.”

The Texas General Land Office allocated $1.1 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Regional Mitigation Program to reduce the risks and impacts of future natural disasters, according to a news release from Texas GLO Commissioner Dawn Buckingham.

Regional mitigation funds approved by the Texas GLO total more than $122 million and are earmarked to improve streets, drainage and sewer systems in Burleson, Colorado, Galveston, Jefferson, Lavaca, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, San Patricio and Waller counties.

Orange County was awarded $31,091,100 for drainage improvements.

Sims said now that the projects have been approved they must finish documentation and get a contract with the GLO. This step could take anywhere from six weeks to four months. After that it could take six months to a year to design and another two years for construction.