Austin (KXAN) — Flash flood waters last month washed several vehicles away from an East Austin neighborhood into Walnut Creek. One small business owner is still trying to recover several of his work units still stuck in the creek bed.
Torrential rain brought flash floods across the Austin area April 20, leading to at least 30 damaged homes and water rescues from cars stuck on US 183.
The City of Austin just days ago approved relief for residents whose homes were damaged in the storm.
Ben Haugh owns All Nation Restoration near the intersection of Springdale Road and US 290. Walnut Creek curves around his business, and when the flash flood struck – he said it took less than 30 minutes for at least 6 of his utility vans to be swept away.
“It turned into just a full-blown river. And it was running right through the property. Big trees, other people’s cars from upstream, were coming down, cargo trailers, boat trailers. Just stuff that was swept off the banks with no warning,” Haugh said.
Several of those vehicles are still in the creek. Haugh said the treacherous terrain has made extracting the vehicles difficult, but he is working with agencies to remove them as quickly as possible.
“I want to address that because it’s a very big concern for us as a company. We have definitely taken proactive steps to make sure that we’re doing this responsibly and safely and effectively.” Haugh said.
Viewers sent pictures of one of the company’s vehicles to our ReportIt! tip line. They expressed concerns about possible contamination from the truck’s fuel or other chemicals.
The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department said it is aware of the vehicles and is working with Haugh, a towing company, and property owners to recover them.
Watershed Protection said once the trucks are removed they pose no long-term impact on the creek and that any possible contaminants have been properly secured and pose no threat at this time.
“The towing company intends to remove all of the vehicles this week; however, the forecasted rain could cause some delays,” WPD said in a statement.