Energy & Environment

Officials Hope New Pumping System Can Ease Some of Galveston’s Flooding Issues

Heavy rainfall in Galveston has recently flooded streets and swamped cars, but City officials say a new pumping system could help some of their streets drain a lot quicker.

The City of Galveston has requested $30 million in post-Harvey funds from FEMA to pay for a new pumping system.

Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell said they want to do a pilot program that could provide some relief downtown and on the east side. He added it’s not just the heavy rains that are causing problems, but also rising sea levels.

“Not only are we having higher-than-normal high tides, we are having tides that don’t recede down to the complete lower level,” said Maxwell, “which doesn’t help our drainage system to completely void itself of all the water that’s in the system.”

Another issue that hampers drainage is the fact that Galveston doesn’t have retention or detention ponds to collect rainwater. Maxwell said there’s not enough space on the island and they also don’t have the right kind of soil.

“Our water has to travel a good distance,” explained Maxwell, “we have lines that are two, two-and-a-half miles long that we’re trying to move water down in underground pipes.”

As to whether Galveston will get the money for the pumps, Maxwell said he hopes they get an answer from FEMA sometime in the next 12 months.

In the meantime, the City is making some improvements to its existing drainage system using money from a bond issue voters approved last year.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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