One of the things that contributed to Galveston’s misery following Hurricane Ike was a lack of water. Along with other crucial infrastructure, the 59th Street pump station was knocked out of service because of storm surge.
Justin Bowling is Galveston’s city engineer.
“You realize real quickly your priorities when you don’t have wastewater, you don’t have electricity, you don’t have water. You realize real quickly your number one priority is water.”
Galveston is hoping to avoid these problems in the event of a future storm, now that FEMA is providing an $8 million dollar grant help rebuild the 59th Street station so it can hold up during Category 5 hurricane.
Bowling says the improvements will allow the station to provide water to the entire island.
“What this is going to do, it’s going to elevate and harden the structure, so during the next surge event water won’t get in, won’t cause the pumps to fail to pump. They’ll continue to run and of course we’ll have backup generators.”
Officials say the FEMA grant will cover about 75 percent of the cost of construction. The city has applied for other federal money to cover the rest. Bowling says the project should be completed in about three years.