ASHBOURNE’S recent rain and storms have led to a 30 per cent increase in flooding incidents, according to the region’s water board.
James Jesic, waste water manager for Severn Trent said: “Over the last few days we’ve had to deal with significantly more incidents of flooding than we would normally see at this time of year.
“We know that sewer flooding is one of the worst things that can happen to our customers and although this situation is challenging for us, we are working hard to do everything we can for those who have been affected.
“We were aware that this weather was coming and we’ve worked hard to get ready for it.
“We’ve got extra staff on the phones in our call centre and additional teams available out and about across the region, working round the clock to deal with flooding issues.
“We’ve got pumps installed and working in several areas, and we’ve also got teams keeping an eye on those areas that we know have a high risk of flooding.
Mr Jesic had advice for customers who are experiencing flooding: “If you have flooding at your home, check to see if it’s just rainwater or if it’s sewage that has come from an overflowing sewer, possibly through a manhole cover in your garden or outside your property.
“If it’s just rainwater, the flooding should subside when it stops raining, although it can take up to four hours for water to drain away, so be patient. “Where sewage is escaping this is obviously a priority for us, so please call us and we’ll get a team out to help as quickly as possible.
“If you’re concerned about flooding from drains and gullies in the road, you should call the local council as they are responsible for road drainage, but again, we generally find that the flooding will go away when it stops raining.
“If the flooding is coming from a river or stream, get in touch with the Environment Agency, as they have responsibility here.
“We’d like to reassure our customers that we are doing everything that we can do deal with flooding issues as quickly as possible and ask them for their continued patience during this time.
“Unfortunately, in stormy weather of this magnitude, the drains and sewers often have significantly more water flowing through them than they are designed to take, and this can lead to overflowing and flooding.
“We design our sewers to take a higher than normal volume of water to allow for heavy rainfall, but the storms and weather patterns we have been seeing lately have brought significantly more rain in short bursts than we expected when the sewers were put in place.
“The recent heavy rain will also show up areas where we have issues with the wrong things being put down toilets, sinks and drains which then enter the sewer pipes.
“Some of the flooding unfortunately would also be caused by sewers being blocked or partially blocked by items such as nappies, baby wipes, sanitary products and fat, all of which should be put into a bin, not flushed into the sewers.
“If you imagine a pipe half full of fat, nappies and baby wipes before it rains, you can picture what happens when it rains and the pipe can’t carry to rain water and sewage away causing flooding – a bit like when your kitchen sink is blocked at home.”
More information is available online at www.stwater.co.uk or by calling the emergency number for sewage leaks on 0800 783 4444.