Galveston continues its clean-up efforts after Hurricane Ike hit the city in September 2008. The city, with assistance from Beck Disaster Recovery of Orlando, has removed 2 million cu yds of debris, spending about $60 million on the effort. DRC Emergency Services of Mobile, Ala., removed another 1.6 million cu yds of debris from the island. DRC has started new debris removal work in Chambers County, says spokeswoman Paula Pendarvis. In addition, the Texas General Land Office removed 100,000 cu yds of debris from the beach, and the Texas Department of Transportation picked up 400,000 cu yds of it from state roads.
The city has several public assistance projects related to the storm. Its 1970s-era, 10-million-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant was inundated with stormwater, solids floated out and trees were jammed into the facility. The city will use U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for most of the $70-million reconstruction.
Brandon Wade, deputy city manager, expects reconstruction will start in mid to late 2010. Camp Dresser & McKee of Houston, is handling the engineering and design work.
Boyer of Houston began construction on a new $14-million, 20,000 gallon-per-minute water pump station for the city before the storm and continues that work. The city’s water system failed due to the storm.
“We are focusing on water and sewer infrastructure reliability,” Wade says.
The city also plans to update its building standards for public-works projects and its subdivision ordinances, based on lessons learned from Ike. It is also considering extending its sea wall to the back side of the island.
The city received $160 million in funds to assist with construction of a couple of thousand low- to moderate-priced homes. In addition, some private homeowners have begun reconstruction. Approximately 20,000 building permits have been issued. The Galveston Economic Development Partnership has arranged for several small business loans so companies can resume operations. Wade says he expects the community will receive an additional approximately $1 million in Community Development Block Grant monies for small business loans.
“We feel that based upon the amount of damage we had, we are ahead of the game,” Wade adds.