FORT WORTH -- As the rain came down Wednesday, Mary Kelleher nervously watched the banks of the Trinity River.
Her worst fears were confirmed about 2 p.m. Wednesday when floodwaters inundated her 12-acre property in about 30 minutes.
Though she lives in the flood plain in the 7900 block of Randol Mill Road in far east Fort Worth, Kelleher believes that a 30-inch pipeline installed last year by Enterprise Products Partners intensified the flooding on her property and made it more difficult for the water to recede once the rain stopped.
"We think that when they put those pipelines in, maybe they changed the flood plain," Kelleher said.
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After the flooding in September 2010 from Tropical Storm Hermine, Kelleher turned to the city for help, but she's no closer to having her flooding problems resolved.
A city inspector visited her property Thursday to determine whether the pipeline was adding to her flooding woes.
"He couldn't tell if there was anything that added to the flood plain issues," city spokesman Bill Begley said, stressing that the city is still studying the matter.
The pipeline was originally installed without a city permit, and the city's flood plain administrator, Clair Davis, wrote a letter to Enterprise last year saying that the pipeline "appears to have obstructed the natural drainage pattern in the area, and may have contributed to increased flooding on adjacent properties."
But Begley said Enterprise is now "95 percent completed as far as getting all the things they need to satisfy the requirements for the permit."
There are still some unanswered questions about fill dirt used at the site, but Begley said any questions about whether the pipeline was properly installed fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission.
Kelleher said she has been studying Railroad Commission maps herself to see what she can learn since some city officials have told her there's little they can do since her property lies in a flood plain.
"One of them said 'You bought in a flood plain -- what did you expect?'" Kelleher said. "What we are trying to get across is it has changed. The way the water flows is not the way it used to be."
When the floodwater began to rise, Kelleher said, she hopped into her boat and tried to rescue as many animals as possible.
"I was grabbing chickens and turkeys and pigs and towing them to higher ground," Kelleher said. "I didn't get them all."
Until the water recedes, she won't know how many animals were lost.
About a mile from Kelleher's property, the owner of Trinity River Farms, Julie Amendola, said almost all of her property flooded Wednesday.
Amendola, who has owned the property in the 8300 block of Randol Mill Road for six years, wasn't blaming gas pipelines but said she believes that development along Randol Mill may have made the flooding more severe.
"The only other time it flooded was during Hermine, which was kind of understandable for the amount of rain we had," Amendola said. "This time was different. I don't think it should have flooded. I think what was happening was due to things upstream from me. I noticed a change in the pattern of the water. It came from the same direction as last time but it also came from Randol Mill. That is something different."
Amendola said she also lost some poultry and a goat in the flood but vows to be more prepared the next time the water rises.
"I'm going to buy a boat," Amendola said. "Right now, I can't reach the back of my property when it floods so we just had to leave some of them behind. We just couldn't do anything to reach them."
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698