FLOOD risk has been significantly reduced after a new pumping station opened.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt cut the ribbon to officially open the pumping station, near the Harvester pub, off Eastern Road, in Portsmouth.
It is the final piece of a long-term project to make the city’s Victorian sewer network run more efficiently.
Southern Water has spent £20m upgrading sewers so that they cope better whenever there is a big storm.
In the past, all the rainwater got mixed with the foul sewage and flowed down to Eastney.
But a new pipe – purely for surface run-off from roofs and roads – has been built that connects with the pumping station off the Eastern Road.
It means that clean stormwater is quickly pumped out to sea to prevent the city flooding.
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant.
‘Fear of flooding is very much in residents’ minds and this will give people across Portsmouth peace of mind.
‘It’s able to withstand a one in a 1,000-year flood event.’
The improvements should prevent a major flood of the magnitude of September 2000 when Eastney Pumping Station was overwhelmed and up to 750 properties were affected.
‘We should be secure here,’ added Ms Mordaunt.
‘People should be confident they are not going to have any issues with flooding.’
The work has been paid for by Southern Water, but the pumping station will be run by the Environment Agency.
The other big benefit of the new station is it will reduce the likelihood of any unscreened sewage getting into the sea.
By reducing the flow to Eastney by around a third, it will decrease the chances of the storm tanks at Fort Cumberland being overwhelmed during heavy rain.
As reported, the storm tanks at Fort Cumberland are undergoing a £10m revamp and this work should be finished early next year.
Bosses at Southern Water have said both schemes – costing around £30m in total – should guarantee that no unscreened sewage will get into the sea.
The water company has been fined in the past for the discharges.
John O’Flynn, operations manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘The old pumping station was reaching the end of its life.
‘Now we have a brand new one at no cost. It’s a real success story.’
Ms Mordaunt said she was keeping a close eye on the works at Fort Cumberland to make sure there were no more pollution incidents.