Page 70

materials to assist those cities most affected by Harvey. During Harvey the media covered several of the heroic efforts that took place, consisting of assistance from the “Cajun Navy,” support from linemen from all over the country, and support in sheltering and food efforts. Some of the specific public works acts that you may not have heard about were the public works equipment operators transporting police through floodwaters, turning high clearance public works vehicles into rescue vehicles, or the public works staff who stayed at their facility without food to keep their water plant running despite being surrounded by and eventually cut off by rising floodwaters. There are many untold stories of public works heroes rising to the challenge during and after Harvey. The City of Rowlett, Tex., is located 20 miles east of Dallas. Rowlett Public Works is no stranger when it comes to emergency response and having to request assistance in times of need. Rowlett was devastated by an EF-4 tornado on December 26, 2015. The path of destruction was over 3.5 miles long and a half-mile-wide debris field that damaged over 1,100 structures. Rowlett Public Works is forever grateful for all the assistance we received from our public works colleagues after such a devastating event. In the spirit of giving back, Rowlett Public Works sent crews to southeast Texas to help after experiencing Harvey, and their Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator supported the PWRT in TEMAT deployments and resource management and served in the State Operations Center (SOC) for a few days. The crews had to be self-sufficient, so proper planning was imperative. Rowlett also sent a vacuum truck, dump truck trailering a backhoe, and a service truck with the crews to help restore water and wastewater systems impacted by Harvey. Rowlett’s 68

APWA Reporter

/

February 2018

Some of the specific public works acts that you may not have heard about were the public works equipment operators transporting police through floodwaters, turning high clearance public works vehicles into rescue vehicles, or the public works staff who stayed at their facility without food to keep their water plant running despite being surrounded by and eventually cut off by rising floodwaters. first assignment consisted of clearing the sanitary sewer system at the Deweyville High School in Orange, Tex. The high school acted as a first responders shelter. Once the high school’s sanitary sewer system was restored, the crews headed to Port Arthur, Tex. The City of Port Arthur requested assistance to restore the water and sanitary sewer system and assist with worker orders as residents returned to their homes. These crews volunteered over 280 hours, traveled 800 miles, and slept at Deweyville High School and a Port Arthur water facility in order to assist their fellow public works professionals and fellow residents of Texas. Those of us who have experienced a large emergency and who have interacted with state and federal assistance know that the response efforts after the emergency can be just as daunting. After Harvey, the City of Houston needed to quickly and thoroughly assess damages to its groundwater production, storage and pumping facilities to make damage and assistance claims

/

www.apwa.net

to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The City’s 141 groundwater sites are scattered across the 1,660-square-mile greater Houston area, so planning, timeliness and efficiency were critical to the effort. Already under contract for an overall groundwater facilities assessment and capital improvement planning, the City mobilized BGE, Inc. for the damage assessment. Within two days of being contacted by the City and with support from its sub-consultant, the Kalluri Group, BGE mobilized four teams of three to four civil and electrical engineers to visit and assess damages at all 141 sites over a fourday period. The teams started early on Saturday, September 9, with the intent to capitalize on the lighter weekend traffic and because portions of Houston’s freeways and many surface roads were still underwater. Initially, the teams focused on sites the City knew or believed had been damaged. The area was split into quadrants and, with the navigational and access assistance of a City operator, each team spent the majority of the day visiting sites and assessing damage. Assessments focused on wind and water damage to the facilities. Wells, pumps, tanks, building, electrical cabinets, controls, fencing, and other site features were all observed. Damage was documented on a standard form and photos were taken and logged to support the assessments. High water marks were documented using tape measures and photos so that they could be reestablished in the future if the visible evidence was no longer present. Facilities hit hardest were those along Buffalo and Brays Bayou. Data on the initial site assessments were collected and processed, and the teams remobilized the following Monday and Tuesday (September 11 and 12) to complete visits to the remaining sites. Fortunately, many of the sites suffered little or no damage, but some were flooded

APWA Reporter, February 2018 issue  

February 2018 issue of the APWA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association

APWA Reporter, February 2018 issue  

February 2018 issue of the APWA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association