Water company must improve flood defences

flood drain SUS-141203-111919001
flood drain SUS-141203-111919001

RYE emergency group REACT is calling on Southern Water to answer questions about the state of a vital pump that could result in areas of the town flooding if it fails.

REACT chairman Colonel Anthony Kimber told the annual Rye Town Meeting: “We have been hounding Southern Water about the Marley Road pump.

“This is a key pump, fundamental to preventing flooding. Southern Water is not good at maintaining its infrastructure and this is an issue we would like to see resolved.”

He said: “One aspect of flood risk which is not widely understood occurs when the sewage system becomes overloaded.

There has been sewage leakage into gardens in Winchelsea Beach, caused by overload. Spillage affected some 100 homes and businesses.

“We have seen this sort of incident on several occasions around Rye in the last few years.

“The Rye sewage system carries sewage, surface water runoff and water from domestic, commercial and in some cases highways drainage.

“During normal weather conditions, the system copes, but in extreme rainfall, it can become overloaded. This tests the system the limits and can result in leaks and spillage.

“Unfortunately, Southern Water does not have a good record when it comes to spillage. It has been fined repeatedly for allowing sewage to foul beaches in the Southeast.

“It was told by a senior Justice that, with 160 previous offences, it had a ‘persistent record of criminality’.

“Southern Water’s engineers and customer services are difficult to engage with to find solutions.”

A Southern Water spokesman said: “Our staff have been working around the clock since Christmas dealing with flooded sewers - a consequence of the wettest winter on record.

“We’re sorry the REACT group is unhappy with our response in Rye. We will be contacting REACT to talk through its concerns.”