When the torrential rains started falling last week, residents understandably began looking to the West Fork of the Trinity River for rising waters.
Much to their surprise, the water came from the opposite direction as bar ditches started filling up and covering parts of Randol Mill Road east of Loop 820.
In all of the flooding incidents that have hit the neighborhood, residents say they have never seen the amount of rushing water that came from Randol Mill Road.
What changed in this semi-rural area in east Fort Worth? Was it simply flash flooding like was seen in other parts of Fort Worth. Or was it something else?
To Mark Singletary and Julie Amendola, the answer is simple.
Singletary, whose horse ranch is near Oakridge, said the water was lapping up to the front of his house. Everything about his house’s design has been intended to deal with floodwaters coming from the Trinty behind his home.
“It came from the hill,” Singletary said. “It was red in color. It’s only going to get worse. They haven’t started building yet.”
Amendola, meanwhile, lives near the D.R. Horton development. She saw water filling her retention ponds and drowning equipment near Randol Mill Road, where she had been told to store things to be safe from floodwaters.
Portions of her Trinity River Farm and Equestrian Centre still looked like a swamp on Wednesday.
“I do not expect the city to be responsible for the damage from Mother Nature but thanks to the D.R. Horton we now have a flood potential from two directions,” Amendola said.
The D.R. Horton development, which already has homes being constructed and a retention pond in place, is much farther along. The Oakridge development has had some trees and brush cleared but no roads and homes are under construction.
“We’re really in the process of evaluating the situation,” said Greg Simmons, the city’s stormwater management manager.
“The thing I can say is we’ve got developments at different ends of the spectrum,” Simmons said. “At Oakridge, really all they have done is clear some areas to have access for the equipment. There are some disturbed areas with no vegetation but they really haven’t done anything else.”
At Trinity Oaks, Simmons said “they pretty much have the infrastructure built and in place. They still have a lot of un-vegetated soil and systems to capture the runoff and sediment. We are working further with Trinity Oaks since their drainage system is in place.”
Marissa Awtry, a D.R. Horton spokeswoman, said the builder studied the development’s drainage system earlier this week at the request of the city.
“it was determined that the development’s storm drain system functioned as designed and discovered that a blocked drainage pipe on a nearby property may have attributed to the excessive flooding and subsequent runoff experienced by neighboring residents,” Awtry said. “We remain in active communication with the city of Fort Worth and are committed to adhering to applicable storm water compliance requirements and addressing issues or concerns that may affect the safety of our communities and neighbors.”
Earlier this year, a D.R. Horton executive said the company “went too far” in clear-cutting trees from the 51.5-acre site where 219 homes are scheduled to be built.
LGI Homes did not respond to an email or phone message asking for comment.
Simmons did say that some parts of Randol Mill Road are in the flood plain and have flooded previously.
Fort Worth City Councilwoman Gyna Bivens, whose district includes the Randol Mill area, said she is waiting for more information from the city’s stormwater management department about the cause of the flooding and whether the two developments had anything to do with increased runoff.
“I would be surprised if it had no impact,” Bivens said.