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Aldbourne gets 'last resort' filter unit in battle against sewer flooding

The filter unit on stand-by in Aldbourne's Oxford StreetThe filter unit on stand-by in Aldbourne's Oxford StreetAn innovative filtering unit is ready to be switched on for the first time in Aldbourne as part of Thames Water’s programme to reduce the risks from sewer flooding.
 
The mobile sewage filter unit, which was set up on Oxford Street at the weekend, is one of 10 purchased by Thames Water following the record wet winter two years ago. Then Aldbourne suffered several weeks of flooding from sewers as groundwater levels in the village rose.  
 
The new unit is designed to protect the environment by biologically filtering out the most harmful elements of sewage if, in extreme circumstances, sewers are overwhelmed and the excess water has to be diverted away from properties into water courses or fields.  
 
The £20,000 unit is currently on standby as volumes in the sewer network are manageable, but with some river levels on the increase following last week’s rain Thames Water teams are on high alert.
 
Thames Water’s waste networks area manager for Wiltshire, Alex Saunders, said: “We know Aldbourne has suffered sewer flooding problems in the past so it’s somewhere we’ve been keeping a very close eye on. We hope we don’t need to put the filter into action but, should the worst happen, we’re ready to do all we can to protect customers and the environment."
 
“Using the filter unit will be a last resort as we want to operate normally for as long as possible by pumping everything from the sewers away for treatment.”

Aldbourne February 2014Aldbourne February 2014Parish Councillor Nick Josephy, who chairs of the Aldbourne Drainage Improvement Group, said: “Thames Water’s proactive approach to try and prevent the sewer flooding problems we’ve suffered in the past is very welcome."

"I hope it will not be necessary to put the filter unit into use, but it’s certainly very reassuring to know that, should the weather take a turn for the worse, then it’s here and ready for action.”

During and after heavy rain, especially if groundwater levels are already high, pumps which send sewage to treatment works can get overwhelmed by extreme volumes of water. Previously in these circumstances, with permission from the Environment Agency, sewage was diverted into watercourses or to fields to stop it flooding streets and homes.

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