In this introductory post, I want to outline the background to the HVDIG’s formation and its achievements since its inception a little over a year ago.
The sewage flooding in early 2014 affected residents in Valley Road between the Surgery and Coombe Lane. At the time, the initial response from Thames Water was poor and the help offered was much less than when similar flooding happened in 2000, specifically only an offer to clean up after the flooding had subsided.
When the problems were happening, like-minded residents got together to swap understanding and stories. This progressed to sharing resources and assisting each other with small working parties to shift sand bags and provide other help. We also coordinated with letters, emails and telephone calls to ensure that pressure was maintained on Thames Water to do their duty.
David White of Leaside took a lead role in coordinating action and was instrumental in bringing the group to life. During the early stages, much outside help was received and we want to particularly thank David Lidington MP, Dave Carroll – Bucks County Councillor, John Gladwin – Chiltern District Councillor and Allen Beechey – Chiltern Chalkstreams Officer. We also need to thank the HV Residents Association and others in the valley for their support.
So what has been achieved through the auspices of the HVDIG since last summer?
- Worked with Agencies to drive actions on:
- Clearance of blockages, rootballs in sewer network
- Camera surveys to check sewage piping infrastructure in key areas
- Checking of and repairs to leaking inspection pits
- Sealing of sewer lids to prevent surface water ingress to sewage system
- Introduction of pumping systems by Surgery and in Boss Lane to pump into the Hughenden Stream in order to reduce pressure in the sewage system
- Checking and clearance of road drains/gullies and open ditches to reduce road flooding during downpours
- All Agency meetings have been introduced to formalise the relationships and communication between the affected parties.
What of the future?
Undoubtedly, the establishment of regular meetings with the Agencies, albeit only once or twice a year, has led to much improved relationships and a better understanding of how to deal with the Valley’s flooding issues.
The key result of all this activity is that Hughenden Valley is now recognised as an area at risk and in need of special support when floods threaten. The Agencies have put in place systems to ensure that they respond effectively when Hughenden Valley residents raise the alert.
Most satisfying of all is the decision taken by Thames Water to place on standby a mini sewage treatment plant, which is reserved for Hughenden Valley’s use. This system will be installed in the Valley probably near the Surgery if and when the sewage reaches an overload point again.
What is important is that residents continue to be vigilant and to alert the authorities when we see or experience issues that require action. Please let us at the DIG know at the same time so we can work with you and also disseminate the news using the blog, emails etc.
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