Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Faulty seawater valve made flooding worse...and the water company knew
12:00pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Echo News
FAULTY equipment on sewage pipes is believed to have exacerbated Saturday’s devastating flooding on the seafront, the Echo can reveal.
Ageing valves, designed to close and stop seawater getting back into the drains when the tide comes in, have failed, an Echo probe has uncovered.
A senior council source said it was understood seawater entering pipes at high tide on Saturday afternoon increased the volume of water in a drainage network already deluged by rainwater.
Manhole and drain covers burst open on roads near the estuary as water overwhelmed the sewerage system.
An Echo investigation reveals: Anglian Water was aware of the problem at least a month earlier
Southend Council wrote to Anglian Water nine days before the floods, ordering repairs
Seawater flowing into a pipe led to part of Eastern Avenue collapsing earlier this year
Residents living nearby say seawater is getting under floors and causing damp to their homes
Sewage and surface water is not always flowing properly into the estuary at low tide.
Our source said: “Seawater is getting into drains because of valves not fully closing.
“During high tide, this would have added to the volume of water in drains on Saturday.
“About a month ago, a section of Eastern Esplanade, above one of the pipes, collapsed where the sea was damaging it. Anglian Water had to fund the work.”
Andy Lewis, the council’s corporate director responsible for planning and environment, confirmed the council had written to Anglian Water on August 15.
He said: “The letter expressed concerns about the lack of effectiveness of the tidal flap valve at the Lifstan Way pumping station on the sea wall at Southchurch.
“The letter highlighted that we felt this back flow gives rise to a heightened risk of flooding in the area, especially if high tide coincides with heavy rainfall, as it did at the weekend.”
Anglian Water has assured the council it is doing all it can to fixthe problem,but has yet to finish repairs. But there was no sign of any work being done when a reporter visited the Lifstan Way pipe on Wednesday afternoon.
A spokeswoman for the company said Saturday’s rainfall, more than a month’s worth in just an hour, was “almost unprecedented”.
She added: “A joint investigation is under way with the local flood authorities and other organisations to assess how our various networks interacted during Saturday’s rainfall to understand whether any lessons can be learnt.
“Repairs to the seawater valve have been under way since the end of July.
“It is a large and complex job, as we can only carry out maintenance when the tide is out,but these repairs are almost complete.”
She said when the pipes were “tide-locked”during heavy rainfall, the pumping station pumps against the tide to reduce flooding.
She added: “All of these pumps have already been checked and were working properly over the weekend.”
Comments are closed on this article.