FLOODING problems throughout Hampshire and the south east are costing Southern Water over £100,000 a day.
Residents have reportedly been pumping water out of their homes for 24 hours a day, some of whom have not been able to use their toilets, showers and dishwashers for several days because of backed-up drains.
A spokesman for Southern Water said: “We are taking emergency action to keep our sewers flowing across Hampshire and the rest of south east. This is in response to rising groundwater, river water and heavy rain, following the wettest January on record and further heavy rainfall in February. The floodwater, which our sewers are not designed to carry, has got into the pipes, overwhelming them.
“We have been using temporary pumps at key points across the county, a technique known as over-pumping, to remove wastewater from the sewer network serving the surrounding area.
“These pump wastewater, heavily diluted by groundwater, through a small screening and filtration system before releasing it to a nearby watercourse.
“This is an emergency measure, carried out with the permission from the Environment Agency, to help ensure customers’ can use their toilet and bathroom facilities as normally as possible. It has already prevented overflows from a number of manholes in the area.
“We are also using tankers in and around the Winchester, Twyford and Hursley areas to suck flows from the sewers and transport them to a nearby treatment works. We have more than 60 tankers across in operation across the South East and the cost of dealing with flooding has now risen to more than £100,000 a day. This is in addition to the £6m we are investing to survey and seal sewers to help prevent infiltration from groundwater.
“As the wastewater company, we are not responsible for investigating and solving groundwater, river flooding or surface water problems. However, we must ensure our customers can continue to use their wastewater services and this is our priority.
“We're working closely with organisations across our region to jointly resolve the problems caused by the extreme weather."
Hursley landlord Jonathan Greatrix, 46, has spent days emptying his tenanted properties of water and spent an afternoon waist-deep at The King’s Head pub on Main Road after its cellar became submerged.
He said: “How do we galvanise these intransigent organisations into some sort of logic? There is no choice. The environmental damage is happening with sewage running into the street and subsequently into storm water drains. It’s not rocket science.”