Updated Sept. 11, 1:50 p.m.
Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved an order following executive session this morning to file suit on a flood plain violation. Jim Fredricks, chief of staff for Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s office, confirmed the suit is in regard to the illegal dam at Carter’s Slough.
Posted: Sept. 11, 9 a.m.
Montgomery County, Shenandoah and Montgomery County Municipal Utility District No. 95 have taken action to remove a dam that officials claim was illegally constructed on Carters Slough by Bullet Concrete Materials Inc. President Harold Denton Jr.
Carters Slough is a body of water located north of Tamina and east of the Union Pacific Corp. railroad tracks in unincorporated Montgomery County. The body of water is supposed to flow naturally into the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, according to county officials.
Assistant Montgomery County Engineer Dan Wilds said the dam material was initially placed in the flood plain between April 2014 and May 2015, for purposes unknown. Since then, three major rainfall events have occurred—the Tax Day and Memorial Day floods in 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017—causing flooding in the surrounding area.
“The fill appears to have blocked the overland flow of water, altering drainage conditions in the vicinity,” Wilds said. “Some of the fill material is located within the 100-year flood plain.”
As a condition of Montgomery County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, the county is required to enforce certain rules regarding development in the flood plain, which are outlined in the Montgomery County Flood Plain Management Regulations.
These regulations stipulate that property owners are required to obtain permits for fill or landscape alterations within the flood plain, which requires engineer’s certifications that the modifications will not affect flood elevation or the drainage of neighboring properties.
According to county records, the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office sent Denton a notice of violation May 1 and again on June 14.
“The county has been working to bring the property owner in question into compliance with the county’s flood plain management regulations,” County Judge Craig Doyal said. “To date, our county engineer’s office has twice notified the property owner of violations of our flood plain ordinances, and as a result, has now filed a certificate of noncompliance with the county clerk real property records.”
Montgomery County is not the only local entity demanding the removal of the dam.
Shenandoah City Council agreed to send a letter of demand to Denton following action taken during executive session of the July 25 city council meeting.
“The city of Shenandoah is sending a letter of demand to Harold Denton Jr. in regard to improper placement of fill and impoundment of drainage from Carters Slough and damage to property owned by Montgomery County Municipal Utility District No. 95,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said.
Shenandoah Public Works Director Joseph Peart said the dam is causing water-related issues within city limits.
“The dam is causing high waters and flooding within city limits on both privately owned properties and city-owned properties,” Peart said. “All of the surrounding areas upstream are being affected. [The dam] is possibly a cause for the flooding along I-45 feeder roads during a heavy rainstorm. Texas Department of Transportation, Conroe ISD and the city of Conroe are all affected by this [as well].”
Doyal said the situation had been referred to the county attorney’s office as of mid-August, which is reviewing the situation for further legal action and sent a notice to Denton on Aug. 17.
First Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin said before his office could take legal action against Denton, it would need the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to approve filing a suit and funding any costs.
Upon approval, a suit could be filed for temporary and permanent injunctions and damages for the violations of the county flood plain regulations, Texas Water Code and other grounds, Griffin said.
“We hope that the owner, Harold Denton Jr., will do what needs to be done to correct the drainage situation and bring his property into compliance,” Doyal said.
Attempts to contact Denton have not been successful, as of press time. Additional information about Denton’s company, Bullet Concrete Materials Inc. could not be found, as of press time.