PUEBLO — The City of Pueblo is stepping in to address a common flash flooding site.
Stormwater Director Jeff Hawkins told News 5 his department received a low-interest loan from the state for the new construction of a pump station off 29th Street near the I-25 underpass. The loan for the project is a little more than $2 million.
The announcement comes just days after a heavy storm dropped inches of rain on Pueblo, leading to feet of standing water beneath the railroad underpass. A trio of cars were stuck trying to go through.
Cody Schuh also got his car stuck driving in Pueblo. He said he thought he'd be able to make it through.
"I thought it being so hot and dry here the water would go somewhere, but it doesn't seem to," Schuh said.
On Monday, stormwater crews spent hours cleaning in and around the current pump station, which has an output of 9,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).
FLOOD CLEAN-UP: Pueblo’s stormwater crews are busy clearing debris from this pump station at 29th & E. Frontage Road. This spot is often flooded when heavy rain falls, and some improvement could be coming. I’ll explain tonight on @KOAA #COwx pic.twitter.com/EedIfQOjVi— Sam Kraemer (@SamKraemerTV) July 22, 2019
Its pipes are just not strong enough to handle the rapid rainfall and washed out debris along with it.
"The crews reported to me that about 18 inches of sediment just covered the streets (Saturday). That clogged our system. That slowed down our pumps. The pumps were operating, but it slowed them down enough to where this was a problem area for us, so we need to address that," Hawkins said.
And they plan to address it soon. Hawkins said construction should be done some time next year on the new station, which will almost double the current water output to 17,000 cfs.
"We've just had challenges with getting the pumps going good. That's why we're very excited to get a brand new system in place that hopefully can if not end this problem, alleviate it," Hawkins said.
The installation of a new system won't be the only part of the fix. Hawkins said find a management solution for erosion on nearby hills, which bring mud and other debris into the road way, will also play a role in solving it.