By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Flash flooding like we saw in Dallas last weekend is always a huge concern. Dallas Fire Rescue conducted more than 60 water rescues between Sunday and Monday.

“The events earlier this week, the large amount of rain in short amount of time, is going to inundate any system,” Dallas Water Utilities Assistant Director Sarah Standifer said.

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She explains there’s a much larger system at work preventing the detrimental effects floodwater can have. She showed CBS 11 News one of the city’s newest pump stations.

“Prior to these big pump stations.. you have to get the water to the Trinity and there’s only so much capacity with the old stations,” she said. “Starting in 2012, we made an investment with the Pavaho pump station. They moved to a concrete pump and we went from 80,000 gallons per minute to 275,000 gallons per minute.”

Then came the Baker and Able pump stations — and together they’ve tripled the size of the city’s pumping capacity. Combined, they’re capable of pumping more than 1.8 million gallons per minute. This upgrade funded by bond programs.

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In the last ten years, several flood control districts in other big cities – like Houston and Galveston — have come to Dallas to see this state of the art technology and get ideas.

“We’ve had quite a few people come here and what they’re looking for is the performance,” Sr. Program Manager Flood Control Division Rick McRay said. “These are the motors that actually drive the gearbox and the pump that’s down below on the lower floors. Each one of these motors are 3,000 HP motor. Each one of these alone will move about 175,000 gallons a minute. As far as I know and everyone I’ve spoken with, there’s no one else in the United States that has these type of pumps.”

Still, even more improvements are being made.

“In the future, with our funding both combined at the local level and the federal level with the US Army Corps of Engineers, we will have three new pump stations, two new levees and levee raises and flattening to strengthen the levee system,” Standifer said.

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The hope is to have this work complete by 2027. They’re also working to upsize pipes in neighborhoods, but warn if we experience another flash flooding event turn around, don’t drown because in that situation, there’s not much they can do.

Erin Jones