Pumping Station Overflow – Jan 2014

Details of the potential flooding incident in the village over the past few days:

When a resident returned home at approx 1450 on 01 Jan 14 they noticed that their downstairs loo was not flushing away properly: this is always an indicator that the drains are flooded or backing up.

1500 01 Jan 14: a rapid check of the pumping station on Chalkpit Lane revealed that the pumping station itself was under water and water flooding up to depth of at least 3 or 4 inches; concurrently the sewer in the road was flooding water into the road.  Fortunately in both cases the water was grey water and not raw sewage – or appeared not to be.

1505 01 Jan 14: Southern Water (SW) were called and the incident reported.

1750 01 Jan 14: Checked situation again.  The rain having eased off the in-road sewage was not flooding. However the pumping station itself was still flooding – with water bubbling up at quite a rate and was under a number of inches of water.  A torchlight scan of the field between the pumping station and the Pillhill Brook reveal a considerable amount of surface water; but the field was not fully flooded.

By 2035 01 Jan 14:  Two SW vans at the pumping station, and the loo was flushing properly again.  So drains no longer backing up.

0155 02 Jan 14:  Large (water) tanker arrives on site.  (Comment: A similar tanker was on site on 03 Dec 13 when the drains were cleared by SW (as precaution)).

By 0630 02 Jan 14: Tanker had departed.  And in full daylight all the surface water in the field had gone.

This incident shows how reliant we are on the Chalkpit Lane pumping station remaining operational.  That the field between the pumping station and the Pillhill Brook is vital to flood prevention; but that it can only cope with one event – either the failure of the pumping station/drains backing up or the stream breaking its banks.  What is now clear it cannot cope with both concurrently.  Given that the drains/pumping station was cleaned as recently as 03 Dec 13, what has happened to cause it – the pumping station – to fail/block some 30 days later?

With more heavy rain forecast in the coming days, and if you believe some forecasters some weeks, it is essential that we know the cause here and what can be done to ameliorate/prevent future occurrences.

The good news is that SW ring back system does work and they did turn out – albeit after some 7 hours.  It was perhaps fortunate that the heavy rain eased off during this period.

03 Jan 2014: Woke up this morning to find that loo not flushing properly.  Went to inspect the Chalkpit Lane pumping station. Grey water/sewage bubbling up not only in the station – now under a couple of inches – but also in the road – both in Chalkpit Lane and in the High Street.  Flooding in the field between Pumping Station and Pillhill Brook more extensive than on 01 Jan 14.

Have reported incident to Southern Water at approx 0750 today 03 Jan 14.  If back flooding continues untreated water will soon get into Pillhill Brook and thus pollution into the local river network.

Sat 04 Jan 14.  Loos not working again this morning – not flushing away. Checked the Pumping Station at approx 10:00 hrs.  Grey water coming up through the manhole on site: no signs of flooding in the field (yet); no water bubbling up in road (yet). Automatic callback to Southern Water awaited (call put in at approx 10:15) so that the problem can be reported (again).  Not looking good for Sunday 05 Jan, with heavy rain forecast for a large part of the day.

For any problems call the Leak Line on 0800 820 999.  It goes through to the same department as the flooding number, which is a chargeable 0845 number. The more people that call from Monxton the better!

One comment on “Pumping Station Overflow – Jan 2014

  1. Cllr David Bateman says:

    Has Southern Water been contacted about putting in more pumping stations/sewage plants?
    Going by what Cllr Balding put in about how many villages have their sewage sent through the small and dare I say it inadequate pumping station in Chalkpit Lane. I realise everything comes at a cost, but with the amount of rainfall we have experienced, surely there is a need for new infrastructure to be put in place. Is Southern Water looking at ways of saving all rainfall that we have had for instance?


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