On Sept. 24, Harris County acquired the 50-acre undeveloped tract at 2811 Dixie Farm Road for the county's flood control district after an ongoing lawsuit over the property was resolved.
For some Friendswood residents, this is the end of long struggle to remove the dirt placed on the site.
“This is a project where the people won,” Friendswood resident Cheryl Johnson said.
Johnson and her family have been advocates of removing the dirt since early 2018. One concern for Johnson was that the placement of the dirt could cause flooding. Another concern was the source of the dirt: It came from near the former site of the Brio chemical refurbishing facility.
While Harris County Flood Control District officials have tested the dirt and said it is not contaminated, the source dirt is too close to comfort—and to Brio—for Johnson.
“Even though it wasn’t from a contaminated area, people that also lived in other areas … there were health concerns,” Johnson said.
The dirt will be moved in early 2020, HCFCD officials said in a written statement.
The material was placed on the site when the city of Friendswood allowed a project contractor to use the site, as it was not originally considered as part of the floodplain, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
"The Harris County Flood Control District's purchase of the property along Dixie Farm Road is good news for the residents of Friendswood," City Manager Morad Kabiri said in an email. "This is the first phase of completing a flood mitigation project for this area that will benefit those who live adjacent to Clear Creek."
The flood control district is working to include this removal as part of the final phase of construction for the South Belt Stormwater Detention Basin Project, HCFCD Deputy Executive Matt Zeve said in a written statement from the district.
The HCFCD will work to remove the dirt outside of the Clear Creek flood plain, according to a written statement from the district. The new placement of the dirt is a concern for Johnson.
“The worst thing they could do is bring it down into the Friendswood area,” she said.
HCFCD does not plan to develop the Dixie Farm Road property and instead may use it for flood control projects, according to the written statement.
“We are pleased to achieve a resolution of this situation,” Zeve said in the statement. “This property, which is in the floodplain of Clear Creek, will now be preserved from development, allowing the floodplain to do its job as nature intended.”