Houston Matters

City Of Katy Still Rebuilding Key Infrastructure After Harvey

Katy’s mayor, Chuck Brawner, joins Houston Matters to discuss how the city is recovering and to talk about some changes being made to ensure that next time things go better.

Flooding In Katy - Aerial View
Flooding in Katy, Texas from Tropical Storm Harvey as seen from the sky.

In Katy, more than 645 homes and more than 80 businesses were damaged by flooding from Harvey. And some key pieces of the city’s infrastructure were damaged as well.

Katy’s mayor, Chuck Brawner, joins Houston Matters to discuss how the city is recovering and to talk about some changes that are being made to ensure that next time things go better.

Brawner, who was elected to the position in May, tells Houston Matters the Katy Fire Department handled some 450 evacuations and some 200 swift water rescues but still needs more training and equipment to handle such emergencies.

The Bad News

The city’s fire station flooded on the first floor but stayed operational when firefighters moved to the second story. Katy’s City Hall building, which was only a year old, sustained considerable damage on its first floor.

At the time of Harvey, workers had almost finished repairing damages to the local VFW Hall sustained during the Tax Day Flood, but the hall was damaged all over again by Harvey.

And electrical controls at a sewer treatment plant were destroyed when that building was flooded. Brawner says, going forward, those controls will be moved to a level of the facility above the Harvey flood line.

The Good News

Brawner says, as a result of the Tax Day Flood, work on some of the city’s drainage issues was already underway when Harvey arrived, including building a new retention pond that he said spared several houses from flooding — one that had flooded in 2016.

Lessons Learned

Brawner says the City of Katy needs to make improvements to its first response. It did not have the appropriate equipment to handle so many water rescues. Thankfully, he says, many civilians with boats came along to help.

For future flooding events, Katy has been able to obtain a high-water rescue vehicle from U.S. military and another boat for swift water rescues. But he says firefighters in Katy still need more training.

And the city needs to do better job making sure its storm water system isn’t restrained by debris so it can do its job.

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