Thames Water Plans Short Term Solution to Sewer Flooding

Over 600 basements to be protected by FLIPs

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Proposed Counter's Creek flood alleviation scheme

Sewer flooding questionnaire


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Thames Water is urging people in the Counter's Creek area who have suffered from flooded basements to get in touch, as it prepares to spend £25 million installing over 600 pumping systems as a short term solution for the worst affected homes.

In June, the company will begin installing the pumps, known as FLIPs - flooding local improvement projects - which will prevent sewage from surging into basements during heavy rain.

Thames Water says installation of the pumps will take place over the next five years, while it plans to construct a larger sewer network costing several hundred million pounds. Before going ahead with that project, it will require the approval of regulator Ofwat.

Bob Collington, Director of Operational Management for Thames Water, says: "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."

Counter's Creek arises in Kensal Green Cemetery and flows south through Wormwood Scrubs, Olympia and Earls Court and then beneath the West London Railway Line to reach the Thames at Chelsea Creek. Today it is almost completely subterranean.

Counter's Creek was incorporated in Victorian times into the main sewer for our local area, carrying both sewage and rainwater. Thames Water says it simply can't cope with the demands of modern London, for several reasons:

Increasing development, leading to more waste to enter the Counter's Creek catchment from as far afield as Brent and Camden

Concreting over of green spaces, preventing natural drainage.

A trebling of London's population since its sewerage system, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, was built in the 1850s

Climate change bringing the potential for more intensive storms, like those in 2007.

In addition, homes in the Counters Creek catchment are tive times more likely to have basements than the national average. In the past six years, around 1,400 properties have suffered sewer flooding and studies suggest up to 7,500 properties could be at risk in the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council says that some homes in areas around Hammersmith Grove, Greyhound Road, Boscombe Road and Greyhound Road have been flooded three or four times over the last six years, and is urging Thames Water to extend the FLIPs scheme to all homes at risk of being flooded.

A spokesman for Thames Water says: " We are aware of many homes which have suffered from flooding, but there may be some people who haven't reported the problem to us, and and if we don't know about them, we can't help."

If you have had this problem and want to ensure Thames Water is aware of it, call 0845 920 0800 or complete the sewer flooding questionnaire

May 18, 2010