Massive flooding in Brandon; county says fix could take months

Residents say promised repairs have not been done.

BRANDON, Fla. -- Residents in one Tampa neighborhood are dealing with road closures because of rain. More than a foot of rain has fallen in Brandon’s Mead Lake neighborhood in just a month.

With sandbags in hand, Brian Rodriguez is doing what he can to protect the home he’s lived in for 32 years.

“Last night it rained about 5 inches in two hours. If it rains any more, my wife and I are worried it will get in our house,” he said.

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Road closed signs warn people to stay away from Timber Pond Drive. Monday, the road was passable for trucks, but we found several cars backing out of the water after trying to attempt it.

“We’ve been dealing with this for weeks,” Rodriguez said. “It’s so bad there are times my mailman won’t deliver my mail.”

Incessant rain has caused the banks of Mead Lake, which backs into the neighborhood, to overflow. It's flooded everything from backyards to streets where neighbors say the storm drains are clogged.

“In the 32 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, while we are used to flooding from heavy rain, I’ve never seen it like this,” Rodriguez said.

Ron Menard is one of many neighbors forced to find another way home.

“Timber Pond Drive is a major street to get through the neighborhood,” Menard said. “I use it every day to get in and out to go to work.”

The standing water is a haven for mosquitoes.

When we checked with Hillsborough County they said they are well aware of the issues. County workers installed two temporary pumps to get help alleviate the flooding.

In a statement, they said, “All pumping solutions, temporary and permanent, need to be regulated and monitored to ensure that downstream locations are not adversely affected by the additional water being pumped from Mead Lake and surrounding bodies of water. While the second pump did appear to make headway over the weekend, we lost some ground Sunday evening due to a heavy thunderstorm in the area. It is important for motorists to remember to exercise caution while driving on any roads where there is standing water, both for their own safety and for the consideration of homeowners.”

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Residents took their concerns to Hillsborough County commisioners last week and were told a permanent fix should be in place by March.

“The last time this happened was two years ago, and they said they were going to finish that in six months and they never did,” Rodriguez said.

“I found a public meeting set up in 2012 by the county that they set up to address this issue, and it still isn’t fixed,” Menard said.

The county also has two additional planned projects in design:

  • Mead Lake/Timber Pond Connection Improvements – When completed, the existing culvert between the two ponds will be increased to provide a better connection and water flow. Notice to proceed is anticipated to be given before March 2019. Cost is $22,000.
  • New Permanent Stormwater Pump Station – When completed, the permanent pump station will replace the need for temporary pumping and provide year-round recovery from large rain events. The project is currently in design and permitting, which is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2019. Following contractor procurement, construction of the pump station is anticipated begin in Fall 2019 at a cost of $300,000.

The hope is for residents to deal with the temporary fix until it stops raining and the flooding recedes.

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