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FLOODS: Residents want to know why flood pumps failed
8:30pm Tuesday 27th August 2013 in Echo News
ANGRY residents on Canvey want to know why multi-million pound pumps failed to protect them from Saturday’s flooding.
Canvey councillors have requested a meeting with Environment Agency bosses to find out why the island’s 14 pumps, which were upgraded in 2007 at a cost of £6million, failed to cope with hours of torrential rain.
Some residents reported pumps being out of action for a number of hours and raised concern they were not working properly because the tide was in.
An Environment Agency spokesman denied this, claiming pumps were working but had t obe turned off intermittently so workers could clear them of debris.
He said the pumps were not affected by the tide.
Councillor Dave Blackwell said the flooding raised serious questions about the island’s safety.
He said: “Ray Howard and I were out for most of Saturday trying to help residents.I haven’t seen flooding like this since the Sixties.
“Most of the pumps did not seem to be working. The roads were awash with water. Serious questions now have to asked and both Ray and I have requested a meeting with the Environment Agency.
“Millions of pounds were spent on those pumps, but they have failed their first real test.”
Councillor Ray Howard added: “I had been given reassurances five years ago that these pumps would be able to cope and that they would work at high tide.
“We will be meeting with the Environment Agency to look at what needs to change so this does not happen again.”
Brian Staines, 76, of San Remo Road on Canvey lost everything on the ground floor of his property in Saturday’s flooding.
He has been campaigning about problems at the May Avenue pump for years, because of flooding in his garden.
He said: “The real issue is the debris that blocks the pump and stops them working.I have to go down there with a rake every time it rains. If the pump was reliable, Canvey would be the safest place on the east coast.”
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “A large amount of rain fell in Essex, resulting in flooding. Additional staff have been called in to work throughout the bank holiday weekend and our pumps are being continually monitored.
“All of the pumps on Canvey have been working throughout the weekend. Pumps have at times been temporarily switched off, so our staff could safely ensure they were free of debris.
“Our pumps are strategically placed to be above high tide and they have remained above water level all weekend.”
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