AquaDams, the giant water-filled barriers that can be erected to protect homes and businesses from flooding, are in demand by emergency crews dealing with Tropical Storm Harvey.
The state of Texas has contracted with Gulf Coast AquaDams to construct 7 miles of cofferdam barriers along I-10 in Houston to open up the interstate for emergency vehicle transportation, said Larry Campisi, president of the Abbeville, La., company and a distant cousin of the Dallas restaurant Campisis.
The company is looking to deploy more portable dams on I-10 in Beaumont and in the Vinton-Lake Charles-Sulphur area of west Louisiana as Harvey makes its way east.
“We’ve been extremely busy. We’ve been working around the clock,” Campisi said. “We just finished protecting a nursing home in Abbeville.”
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He said he’s been getting calls from homes and businesses as well as the government.
You might remember AquaDams from last year, when a guy made headlines after wrapping one around his house in Rosharon during the last torrential downpour in south Texas — to the ridicule, and eventual acclaim, of his incredulous neighbors.
The waters rose to 27 inches around Randy Wagner’s home but never made it past the portable dam he put up for protection, according to a report at the time.
With the flooding from Harvey, AquaDams are back in the news — and in demand.
Gulf Coast AquaDams dispatched two 18-wheelers loaded with the tubing from Abbeville to Houston via Highway 190 and Bryan-College Station Tuesday morning, with a police escort, Campisi said. Two more are headed down Wednesday.
Campisi said three truckloads have been ordered from AquaDam headquarters in Scotia, Calif.
Company president Craig Doolaege, reached in California, said things are hopping there.
“We’re really busy. We’re loading trucks right now, sending stuff into Louisiana and Texas,” he said.
Gulf Coast AquaDams contracted with the Texas Department of Transportation through the governor’s office to erect 7 miles of 3-foot tall, 7-foot wide water-filled tubing made of plastic and fabric along the highway to keep it from flooding and allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Campisi said he deployed 16 people to the area and he’s got 21 people working 12-hour shifts.
“We’re working around the clock with our teams to protect life and property,” he said.