West Dallas Residents Anticipate Relief Amid new Floodwater Control Project

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Longtime residents of West Dallas hope they’ve seen the beginning of the end of severe flooding in their neighborhoods.

On Thursday, the city broke ground on a $350 million pump station designed to keep water out during major weather events.

It is the groundbreaking ceremony Debbie Orozzo Solis has been waiting for. At 62, she’s a third-generation West Dallas resident. She remembers the voluntary evacuation of 2015, the rising waters of 2012 and the floods of 2010; almost every major flood event since childhood.

“I know the people that live across [the street] and they get flooded all the time,” she said.

For her, the groundbreaking signals relief. The City of Dallas partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build what will become the new Trinity Portland Pump Station. Construction for the pump will take place along the West Levee and Mexicana Road at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Omar Narvaez said he gets calls from residents in his district any time there's a major rain event.

“It is scary when they see the waters rising. And my phone is ringing off the hook, you know, 911, 311, because they're scared because they've lived through it,” Narvaez said.

He said the groundbreaking for the new pump has been a long time coming.

“To this day, there are certain inclement weather events that trigger folks,” said Narvaez.

The $350 million project is part of the city's flood risk management plan through the Dallas Floodway Project. The city's partnership with the Corps for the Floodway System began in the 1940s, and levee upgrades began in the 1990s. The newly constructed pump station will have the capacity to pump some 250,000 gallons of flood water per minute.

Sarah Standifer is with the City of Dallas Storm Water Management. She applauded the people who live in surrounding neighborhoods for their involvement and advocacy.

Many west Dallas residents have become so accustomed to flooding, they’re prepared to act at a moment's notice.

“They know where and when to go places. They know when to call us,” said Standifer. “We send crews out here during rain conditions on watch.”

Solis said the economic impact of the new pump station is critical, as many of her neighbors can't afford flood insurance. She's part of a neighborhood coalition and said she'll always speak up for west Dallas, the place she calls home.

“We want to make sure that you live a life that you deserve to live out here,” said Solis.

The new pump station is expected to be complete by late 2025. The Dallas Floodway project also includes plans to raise and flatten levees and rehabilitate the Delta Pump Station, which was built in the 1930s and serves West Dallas as well.

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