WESLACO, Texas (KVEO) — Rio Grande Valley counties and cities are starting to prepare for hurricane season by improving drainage to avoid flooding, which includes ending illegal dumping.
Hurricane season starts June 1, and flooding has always been a problem in the Valley, but one flooding hazard cities are focusing on is illegal dumping.
“A big portion of our work is maintenance and operation of our systems, and illegal dumping is a big issue for us,” said Raul Sesin, Hidalgo County Drainage District 1’s general manager.
Weslaco is one of the cities participating in a million-dollar drainage improvement project, but officials say it will not be effective if there is debris clogging the drains.
“We’re investing over $14 million for drain improvement,” said David Suarez, mayor of the city of Weslaco.
One major project is the new underground drainage system on the Southeast side of the city.
“We’re going to be running water… under this street, that goes through an open channel further downstream,” said Suarez.
Weslaco’s Public Works Director Pete Garcia said that every week maintenance teams cleanout over 25 miles of drain ditches throughout the city.
“Stormwater lines are actually draining to our drain ditches,” said Garcia. “And once all that loose debris covers those inlets then it just clogs it.”
Suarez said that the city has found couches, mattresses, tires, and even fridges in drain ditches.
To address dumping, the city has a dump site at their public works building every Wednesday, and Garcia says this is a part of their preparation for hurricane season
However, they need the help from the community to stop dumping.
Garcia said that they need to start preparing “way before” and be ready by June.
If you see any illegal dumping or loose debris, contact the city at (956) 968-3181