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Latest news from DIG (Drainage Improvement Group)

Please see the following update from Aldbourne’s DIG (Drainage Improvement Group):

Thursday 26th September was the date for the third meeting of the ‘All Agencies’ working group, to progress solutions to the groundwater and sewer flooding problem in the village.

Representatives attended from Thames Water, The Environment Agency, Wiltshire Council including our Councillor, Aldbourne PC and DIG.

A professional study of the Aldbourne flooding situation has been approved

DIG has pressed for an extension to a study conducted 10 years ago to find solutions to our flooding problems.

Instead of an extension to the study James Sheppard (our Wiltshire Councillor) confirmed that Wiltshire Council has obtained DEFRA funding for a new study of the flow of the Bourne and groundwater drainage in the village, to be carried out by WS Atkins. This is indeed good news.

There were recommendations made in the first study that weren’t implemented so now would be a good time to review them. This new study will take a wider look at the Bourne.

Their brief is to analyse the current flow of the Bourne and groundwater drainage and to recommend solutions which will improve the flow out of the village and so reduce the risk of flooding as seen Winter 2012/13. The study will also look at the water flows in other parts of the village, since these also contribute to the groundwater problem.

Wiltshire Council, Thames Water, Atkins and DIG will be involved in the initial set up of the study to share knowledge and experience.

Thames Water Connectivity Study has completed

The study of 120+ houses adjacent to Bourne has completed, Thames Water is currently analysing the results.

Thames explained that their records are for public sewers and they needed to know more about the private sewers connected to theirs. They were establishing which bits of sewer are likely to be under the water table and/or liable to infiltration. They looked at the low lying levels as these would be the most obvious breech points.

Thames explained there could be some immediate solutions to ground water infiltration, for instance through sealing manhole covers to prevent ingress where surface water flooding occurs (as in the lower part of Lottage Road), with a pressure release mechanism to avoid this causing back-up into nearby properties if the sewers reach capacity. Thames could do this for public manholes and DIG asked if, given the marginal cost, they could also offer to do the same for some private ones.

The integrity of the pipework and the effectiveness of the lining carried out around 2003 was not assessed. Thames said it’s not possible to check the sewers for leaks when they are flooded with water as the cameras don’t work, and when it’s dry you can’t see where ingress is likely to occur.

It was clear that this study and the limited steps to reduce infiltration of water into the sewer which might result was merely a first step in understanding Aldbourne’s problem and not a definitive piece of work, but DIG was keen to see any immediate partial solutions identified implemented before the winter .

The Environment Agency raised the need for the production of a wider Infiltration Reduction Plan, of the type being initiated in various flooding villages in the area. It was agreed that Aldbourne should be a priority.

Thames Water asked if they could have a map with the location of our known springs. DIG will be asking villagers where known springs are.

Clearing the main sewer from Aldbourne to the Whittonditch sewage works

Thames Water advised that the work order for this had been delayed but has now been cleared to proceed. The job is to be completed by end October. Any problems will be fixed as work goes on. Thames declared the flow rate and size of the pipe are sufficient in ‘normal’ conditions.

The process of clearing the Bourne on Saturday October 26th – volunteers needed

After much form filling, and finding the right person to sign orders we’ve finally got official go-ahead to clear the Bourne… carefully.

It was recognised by all that the Bourne from the Square along the length of South Street is currently choked with weeds, has patches of rubble and silt (see below) and that some culverts under roads and driveways are partly blocked. The work planned will not involve dredging the Bourne to make it deeper but merely clear obstructions to its natural flow.

Wiltshire Council said nothing was blocking the culverts in Lottage Road but that some repairs are necessary and will be taking place very soon before the waters rise.

Hannik Homes had been advised by WC that a condition of their connecting the surface water drains from Barnes Yard into the public system was that they would then clear the drains under the Square and remove any resulting debris from the Bourne where the culvert joins it opposite the pond. However this was not a formal planning condition. It appears this hasn’t been properly done, although earlier in the year On-Site jetted the pipes under the Square resulting in the deposit of rubble and silt in the Bourne. The EA is looking into this and hopefully will be able to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Next meeting will take place on Thursday 21st November.

For more information about DIG please see this page in the community section or contact Jim Oliver directly, see details below.

Posted by: RB on 13th October 2013