A TRIAL pumping scheme that has been used at the West Ham electricity sub-station is set to be launched in Buckskin next week to pump away floodwater.

Tony Curtis, chief executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council made the announcement at a drop-in session at the Ridgeway Centre last night.

A total of 84 homes have now been evacuated from flood-hit Buckskin and 42 million litres of floodwater has been removed by tankers since the flooding began on February 6.

The chief executive told the meeting about the launch of the trial at the sub-station in Worting Road on Thursday which has so far removed 9 inches of water from the area.

He added: “The reason we are doing the trial is to lower the water around the sub-station and if it works, our next step is to join it to Buckskin and start pumping water from here.

"The really good news is that since we started we have lowered the water level by nine inches so that gives us some optimism about the future but we need to test it for the rest of the weekend.

“If this works, I would anticipate that in the latter half of next week we will try and run it into Buckskin. If it does, we would be able to get high volumes of water away quicker than tankers.”

Mr Curtis asked Buckskin residents to be patient while the details of the new pumping scheme are finalised, which would see floodwater filtered to ensure that contaminated water doesn’t flow into the River Loddon.

He said: “The water coming from the West Ham sub-station will be cleaner than Buckskin and we want to do further work to test the water in Buckskin and the impact on the river with support from the Environment Agency.

“In the mean time, tankering will continue to a point when we can start pumping but we will have to take a decision about tankering in the future. It may be that the first thing we do is stop the overnight tankering when most people are asleep and the use of water ceases.”

The chief executive met with Thames Water on Friday and announced at the meeting that the water company has agreed to help with deep cleaning in the flooded areas of Buckskin.

They are also looking at ways they can stop the overflow of sewage to the area and have agreed to work on further pumping solutions.

Borough Council leader, Councillor Clive Sanders said that staff would stay in Buckskin for however long is needed, adding: “Across the whole of the South, people are interested and concerned. It is not getting better and we are trying ever so hard to get it started as quickly as possible. We will stay here for as long as we need to be.”