Sewer flooding prevention in London

LONDON, England, March 9, 2010 -- Major water utility Thames Water is spending up to £25 million over the next five years on measures to stop basements flooding with sewage at properties in west London.

LONDON, England, March 9, 2010 -- Major water utility Thames Water is spending up to £25 million over the next five years on measures to stop basements flooding with sewage at properties in west London.

The investment follows figures that suggest around 1,400 properties in the area have suffered sewer flooding in the past six years.

Further studies suggest up to 7,500 properties could be at risk in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Between 2010 and 2015, the scheme will see more than 600 pumping systems fitted to help protect the worst-affected areas while Thames Water said research and design will continue on developing a larger sewer network, costing several hundred million pounds.

The pumping systems aim to help force sewage out into the sewer in the road, when it would otherwise back up into customers’ basements.

It is hoped that, subject to water regulator Ofwat’s approval and the necessary funding being agreed, construction of the new Counter’s Creek sewers will begin in 2014/15.

Counter’s Creek is the main, combined sewer for the area and carries both rainwater and sewage.

However, Thames Water said it simply can’t cope with the demands of modern-day London.

Bob Collington, director of operational management for Thames Water, said: “We’re desperate to end the misery of sewer flooding, which is a truly horrible experience. We have yet to get the approval of our economic regulator Ofwat for building a larger Counter’s Creek sewer system, but the £25 million of funding we’ve been allowed by Ofwat for the next five years will enable us to provide a short-term fix for the worst-affected properties while we design the long-term solution.”

Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet member for environment, said: “While it is clear that the best solution to the Counter’s Creek flooding problems is a new large sewer, I am pleased that Thames Water has secured funds to enable it to begin to tackle the problems experienced by those worst affected by flooding from the sewer.

“Of course we must also pay close attention to the effect future development may have in the area and work with developers through the planning process, to minimise the impact on local drainage system. It will also be very important to work closely with other boroughs and the Greater London Authority to reduce this risk in the future.”

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