Bonita Springs gets temporary pumps to remove Hurricane Irma floodwaters
Volunteers with Samaritan's Purse humanitarian aid work to clear the damaged yard and interior of Lori and Rodney Malone's home in Bonita Springs on Tuesday September 26, 2017. Liam James Doyle/Naples Daily News
The South Florida Water Management District installed two temporary pumps Sept. 22 to help remove Hurricane Irma floodwaters from Bonita Springs.
The district said it will work throughout the tropical disturbance that is expected to bring more rain to Southwest Florida this weekend.
Lee County and Bonita Springs coordinated with the Water Management District to install the pumps after the city requested assistance, said Phil Flood, the Lee County regional representative for the water district.
The pumps, at a drainage ditch east of Interstate 75 along Bonita Beach Road, are pulling water from the side of the road. The water then will flow 4 miles south to the Cocohatchee River Canal, Flood said.
"The reason for doing that is most of Bonita Springs drains through the Imperial River, and there is so much water coming down that the river is backed up," he said. "We’re essentially moving water from the Imperial watershed and sending it down through the Cocohatchee watershed."
Flood said the Cocohatchee water levels began to drop last week, which gave it the capacity to take more water.
Once the water from the temporary pumps reaches the Cocohatchee Canal, it will discharge into the river and out through Wiggins Pass.
"There was no place to pump any water until the Cocohatchee water levels dropped," he said.
Flood said there is no timeline for how long the pumps will remain in Bonita Springs, but they will continue to operate throughout the weekend.
That's when another bout of heavy rain is expected in Southwest Florida. A tropical disturbance is moving through the area, and most of the rain is projected to fall Saturday.
"We will have to wait and see what the rain will bring us," Flood said. "We’ve committed the pumps to be there as long as the city is going to need them."