We need a solution! Villagers call for action after flooding strikes

A flood sign in Hambledon
A flood sign in Hambledon
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PEOPLE who are having to live surrounded by a ‘lake’ of diluted sewage are demanding answers from a water company.

Roads in Hambledon continue to be flooded with sewage and yesterday the dirty water started to bubble up into people’s gardens.

HAMBLEDON FLOODING (NEWS)  MRW 19/1/2014''Both East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic on Sunday with the 'Village Flood Committee' out in strength to assist fellow neighbours together with the Environment Agency after surface water could not get away due to a pump failure in the nearby pumping station this then mixed with sewage as well and most cellars were full and thousands of sand-bags were brought in to try to funnel the water through the village ''Nigel Wilgoss brings some of the extra 3000 sand-bags that were expected late on Sunday afternoon through the village of Hambledon ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-5984)

HAMBLEDON FLOODING (NEWS) MRW 19/1/2014''Both East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic on Sunday with the 'Village Flood Committee' out in strength to assist fellow neighbours together with the Environment Agency after surface water could not get away due to a pump failure in the nearby pumping station this then mixed with sewage as well and most cellars were full and thousands of sand-bags were brought in to try to funnel the water through the village ''Nigel Wilgoss brings some of the extra 3000 sand-bags that were expected late on Sunday afternoon through the village of Hambledon ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-5984)

Villagers rallied round to create walls of sand bags to stop all but two homes being flooded, but are angry that Southern Water does not appear to have done more to tackle the problem.

As reported, the village’s pumping station is running at full capacity after groundwater levels have risen massively over the last week.

Cracks in underground pipes means the groundwater mixes with sewage.

Mik Norman, chairman of Hambledon Parish Council, said residents were disappointed with the lack of communication from Southern Water over the last few days.

HAMBLEDON FLOODING (NEWS)  MRW 19/1/2014''Both East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic on Sunday with the 'Village Flood Committee' out in strength to assist fellow neighbours together with the Environment Agency after surface water could not get away due to a pump failure in the nearby pumping station this then mixed with sewage as well and most cellars were full and thousands of sand-bags were brought in to try to funnel the water through the village ''Three powerful vehicles were brought in from Kent to pump water out of the overloaded drains and sewers'Bob Large of MTS Industrial with his powerful truck pumps which he evens stays in the village overnight and sleeps in ! ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7695)

HAMBLEDON FLOODING (NEWS) MRW 19/1/2014''Both East Street and most of West Street in Hambledon were closed to traffic on Sunday with the 'Village Flood Committee' out in strength to assist fellow neighbours together with the Environment Agency after surface water could not get away due to a pump failure in the nearby pumping station this then mixed with sewage as well and most cellars were full and thousands of sand-bags were brought in to try to funnel the water through the village ''Three powerful vehicles were brought in from Kent to pump water out of the overloaded drains and sewers'Bob Large of MTS Industrial with his powerful truck pumps which he evens stays in the village overnight and sleeps in ! ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7695)

‘The sewage is backing further and further through the village,’ he said.

‘There’s no let-up. It’s very frustrating to know what solutions, if any, Southern Water has to the problem.’

Residents continue to seek a long-term solution to the flooding woes – something that will require major investment.

Mr Norman added: ‘Although Hambledon has always been a village prone to flooding, this was historically at intervals of 30 years and relied on a large main drain and a network of ditches and gullies to carry flood water. The main drain was replaced with a smaller pipe some 50 years ago while ditches became filled. Since then flooding has increased in frequency.’

A spokeswoman for Southern Water said: ‘Groundwater levels in Hambledon have risen 20 metres in five days – this is exceptional.

‘When groundwater reaches high levels it can infiltrate our sewers through cracks in joints caused by ground movements over the years, as well as through customers’ private lateral pipes.’

She added: ‘Our systems were working as they should, however, they have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of groundwater, which has risen so high it is now flowing through the streets. It is important to note our sewers were not designed to carry this water.’

She said four tankers had been brought in to suck out flood water and temporary pumps were installed at the pumping station to increase capacity. She added that £160,000 has been spent to seal some of the sewers and further work was planned.