Galveston Officials Hope a New Pumping System Can Ease Some of Their Flooding Issues

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To pay for those pumps, the City of Galveston has applied to FEMA for $30 million in post-Harvey funds.

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 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.