Mayor Turner, local leaders join in debris removal along Lake Houston

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor, Cathy Hernandez - Reporter

HUFFMAN, Texas - Mayor Sylvester Turner and local leaders observed the removal of trees, trash, logs and other debris along Lake Houston Friday.

The Lake Houston debris removal project is a part of the Hurricane Harvey debris mitigation after 51 inches of rain fell during last year’s storm.

Turner, District E Councilman Dave Martin and Rep. Dan Huberty, along with others, met at BJs Marina, in Huffman, for the removal.

Video: Mayor Turner, local leader speak about Lake Houston cleanup

Crews were in the middle of the massive operation on Lake Houston to remove debris left behind.

It was meant to make the water safer and stop future flooding of communities.

“I know we can make a difference and give a people a sense of comfort that we are moving with the greatest degree of urgency,” Turner said.

On Friday, Turner took a boat ride around Lake Houston to see the work firsthand as crews hauled mountains of debris on barges out of the water. Then, it was loaded into large dumpsters.

Harvey left the lake full of trees, logs, trash -- even household items like furniture from homes that flooded in places like Kingwood, Atascocita, Crosby and Huffman.

Because of it all, along with silt and sand, the lake lost 30 percent of its capacity.

“When you think about Hurricane Rita, Ike and now Harvey, all of that stuff kind of comes into the lake and then, where does the water go? The water goes up and into people’s homes,” Turner said.

The clean-up project started in mid-May and since then, crews have removed 1,000 to 2,000 cubic yards of debris each day.

“When Harvey came, it grabbed those condominiums, grabbed those apartments, houses, tore them apart. They’re now sitting in the middle of the lake,” Martin said.

Officials have had to lower the lake level three times since Harvey, including ahead of the July Fourth holiday, to prevent flooding temporarily.

The debris removal project was expected to cost an estimated $10 million to $20 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was expected to pay for 90 percent and the city was set to cover the remaining 10 percent.

The project was estimated to take another four to six months.

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