Southern Water have been pumping out Monxton Pumping Station now for nearly two months (nearly 24/7), we have gone from one tanker to the present three, but unfortunately, to no avail.
Initially, the pump was found to be broken and was replaced with a new one. The new pump has not failed and is working, but is completely overwhelmed. Southern Water confirmed that the pumping station cannot cope with the volume of groundwater now entering the sewage system, although sewage is still being pumped over towards Abbotts Ann.
The Environment Agency have now visited the site three times and on the second visit, over two weeks ago, an overland pump was requested, with the intention to use this to “over pump” from the station into the brook. For some weeks this has already been in place further up the line at a number of sites including Fyfield and Mullens Pond, to try to relieve the system. We understand that the sewage in the system is now diluted enough by groundwater, to cause no harm the brook. The Environment Agency said they needed to see the results of this and assured us that this would make a difference to our situation, but this has blatantly failed and, in fact, the flooding has increased.
On Friday 21st February, Southern Water delivered a pump named ‘Betsy’, which was installed and tested, with dramatic results – drains cleared and the pumping station stopped flooding! Betsy now awaits the delivery of some hoses to reach the brook. These are in short supply at the moment but Southern Water told us that they were due to arrive on Monday 23rd February. They did not arrive and at a meeting yesterday, Southern Water confirmed that really they do not know when or if at all they can locate the hoses and additional kit needed to over-pump into the brook.
Although it was clear that the flooding of the pumping station had not improved since their last visit, the Environment Agency confirmed yesterday that they had still not yet given Southern Water the necessary permission to go ahead with the over pumping. Without this permission Southern Water’s hands are tied, as they cannot over pump without the Environment Agency’s approval: this is not in place, nor do they know if it will be given. The considerable impact ‘Betsy’ had on the pumping station flooding was made clear to both Southern Water and the Environment Agency yesterday, and we now await a decision from the Environment Agency. In the meantime, Southern Water, have assured us they will endeavour to locate the necessary equipment as soon as possible.
There have been a small number of incidences of drivers being impatient with the tankers at the pumping station, so please be understanding at this difficult time. We would advise that only those drivers who are residents of Chalkpit Lane use the lane until the flooding has ceased.
Long term solutions will be discussed with affected residents and the relevant agencies in the future. An update will be posted as soon as we have a decision from the Environment Agency.