HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Harlingen has a new tool to help decrease street flooding. The city recently acquired several large pumps to help move water away from areas that are prone to flooding.

“There are some areas that right away, we know, depending on how much rain we’re going to be getting. We know to deploy those right away so that we can start pumping out water from those locations,” said Christopher Torres, Harlingen’s Public Works Director.

Harlingen now has three six-inch pumps and one eight-inch pump. He said, “Not a lot of municipalities have these pumps. As a matter of fact, the city of Harlingen has never obtained any of these pumps.”

Torres said the city got the smaller pumps about six weeks ago and the new, larger pump, came in two days ago. Officials said the money for the pumps was allocated in the Public Works budget. The new eight-inch pump cost the city over $130,000 and can move 2,000 gallons of water per minute.

“The city of Harlingen had some events in 2018 and 2019 which were pretty bad. I believe that if we would have had these on hand when those rain events came, it would have been helpful,” Torres said. “Harlingen had identified four areas of the city that were especially prone to street flooding.

After heavy rains a few weeks ago, one of the newly acquired six-inch pumps was used to clear one of those areas in about 15 minutes.

“Intersection of Liberty and Colorado, that area floods pretty well. And so we deployed that one, and right away we were able to get it cleaned out,” said Torres.

Torres said city employees monitor areas that might be at higher risk for street flooding. He said whenever there was a rain event, crews went to at-risk areas to determine whether or not to send in pumps. He said after that determination was made, it was a very simple process to get the equipment from the Public Works building to an affected area.

Torres explained, “All we need to do is just hook it up on the trailer and haul it to the location we need to get water out. Usually, it takes anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes.”

He said it only took an inch or two of water on the street to trigger the city to use the pumps. He said that depending on how severe the weather, crews could begin clearing water away, even while it was still raining.

Torres added that his department was looking into acquiring even larger pumps in the future. He said he hoped the city didn’t have to use them, but it was nice to have that tool handy.