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Jefferson County drainage district manager: 'No way to keep up' with Harvey's rainfall

Drainage District 7, which operates the Alligator Bayou pump station in south Jefferson County, had its four diesel engine pumps running wide open for much of the week-long rain event last month, manager Phil Kelley tells KFDM/Fox 4.

With the amount of rainfall Tropical Storm Harvey poured down on Jefferson County, one drainage district manager says there was no way to keep up.

Drainage District 7, which operates the Alligator Bayou pump station in south Jefferson County, had its four diesel engine pumps running wide open for much of the week-long rain event last month, manager Phil Kelley tells KFDM/Fox 4.

Each of them pumps about 560,000 gallons per minute, Kelley says.

"I think what we learned is with that amount of rainfall, there’s no way to keep up," he says. "This pump station had run wide open for several days prior to the main event. ... The pumps are almost 40 years old. I’ve been here 33 years and that’s the first time I can ever remember that all four pumps ran wide open for that many days."

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, Southeast Texans started seeing water in their homes, especially in parts of the mid- and south Jefferson County.

By Wednesday night, one of the pump stations - the Crane Bayou system, which drains a big area of Groves and located on the ship channel - ran out of fuel.

The Procter Street extension was underwater, so one of the DD7 vendor's tanker truck parked on 9th Avenue could not reach it, Kelley says.

Watch our James Ware visit a DD7 pump station and interview Kelley.

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