Learning lessons from flooding misery

CHAOS ... flooding at Thirlmere Court.
CHAOS ... flooding at Thirlmere Court.

FOUR hundred South Tyneside homes were flooded as a result of extreme weather last year, new statistics reveal.

The action taken and planned since, to prevent a repeat, was presented to borough councillors yesterday.

Since the turn of this year, 22,000 gullies in the borough have been cleaned and manhole surveys have also been carried out.

In the longer term, plans include improvements to existing drainage systems to provide additional capacity, permeable paving and water butts.

The action is the result of unprecedented bad weather on six separate occasions last year, from June through to December.

The worst incident came on what has become known as ‘Thunder Thursday’ – June 28 – when drainage systems reached capacity.

That resulted in 162 homes being affected and 45 millimetres of rain falling in just two and a half hours – 90 per cent of June’s average.

Yesterday, members of Hebburn community area forum were also given a presentation on the Tyneside Sustainable Sewage Study.

South Tyneside Council, Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency have been collecting specialist information to try to discover why there is such an issue with surface water flooding in Monkton Village and on Lukes Lane Estate in Hebburn.

The review is looking at the options that might be available to some residents to help reduce the impact of heavy rainfall events.

Among the considerations is to reprofile the burn, creating a swale and the potential of installing a retention pond.

Northumbrian Water is doing a range of work, including constructing new sewer pipes and manholes along Windermere Crescent and Grasmere Road, and in the grass verge next to Coniston Avenue.

An additional storm water storage pipe will also be installed in Thirlmere Court.

Tony Hanson, the programme’s delivery manager at South Tyneside Council, said there were “no guarantees” that, despite all the actions that have been taken, future flooding will not cause further misery.

He said: “The response to last year’s flooding got better as events went on.

“In hindsight, we learned a lot of lessons.”