Richmond man builds levee around home to prevent future flooding

By Phil Archer - Reporter

RICHMOND, Texas - A homeowner in Fort Bend County has come up with his own flood control solution: He’s building a levee around his home in Richmond.

When rains from Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding along the Brazos River last September, almost 2 feet of river water flowed through the small house where David Bush, his wife and four children live.

“We were devastated. We were in shock. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” Bush said.

Like so many others, Bush could have simply walked away, but chose to stay despite the threat of future flooding.

“We love the area out here. We love living in the country, so we decided we’re not going to move,” he said.

His answer was to build a levee around his house, which sits on about 2 acres near the intersection of McCrary Road and FM 359.

In a little more than a week, a contractor has thrown up a dirt berm around the property that sits 28 inches above the interior floor of his house. The plan includes a detention pond behind the levee and pumps to flush out any water that might collect inside it.

His contractor said it’s a cheaper alternative to raising the house.

“I think it costs $80,000 to $100,000 plus to raise this when this can be done usually about a third of that cost,” Daniel Dean, owner of Dean Land Clearing and Dirt Work, said.

Dean said it’s not a solution for everyone because it won’t work for homes in subdivisions where deed restrictions or the small spaces between houses prohibit the construction. But he says he’s built a similar protective levee for one other homeowner impacted by Harvey.

Bush had to get permits from the city and county to ensure runoff from his place won’t flood his neighbors. He and his wife are happy with the way it will look.

"It’s all going to be seeded and grass is going to grow over it and it’s going to be part of the landscaping,” Bush said.

The big advantage for Bush and his family is peace of mind.

"That is the main thing, a sense of security for us. If the river ever does crest again ... that it can go much higher than it did last time before it goes over the levee,” he said.

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