HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY - It seems like the norm these days. Rain clouds moving in across the Tampa Bay area. Hillsborough County officials say the heavy rainfall is causing flooding problems across the county.
When it rains hard, Javier Rodriguez Jr. says his mother's apartment, on 15th Street North, is more like waterfront property. Flood waters come up to their doorstep. Rodriguez Jr. said, "It gets real bad. It looks like a swimming pool over here. You could go swimming. You could bring a canoe and like canoe in here."
At the apartment complex next door, flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby ruined furniture and left mud on the floors. Some families had no choice but to move out. Teresa's convenience store and Sunrise Village assisted living community also had flood problems.
Steve Valdez, Hillsborough County's Public Works Director, said, "It's a bowl and all of the water from the northeast flows through that bowl and it gets trapped there."
To keep that water flowing out of the area, Hillsborough County Public Works crews are installing a new water pumping station, which includes a 36-inch-wide pipe behind the University Mall. The pipe will continuously pump water under ground, a couple miles, to the Hillsborough River.
Valdez said, "This new system we will be able to run full time, whenever we have a need for it and not have to turn it off intermittently until the water downstream in those neighborhoods subsides because the water is never going to go to those neighborhoods."
The new project replaces the county's old system which used pumps and a series of retention ponds.
Rodriguez, Jr. says he'll be glad to see the day when he doesn't have to worry about rain coming his way. Rodriguez said, "Yea i think that's a good idea. Help people out."
The project, which costs more than $8,000,000, is scheduled to be finished in May.
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