Hastings flooding: Southern Water releases statement

Southern Water has issued a statement about the major flooding that hit Hastings this week.
Southern Water has issued a statement about the major flooding that hit Hastings this week.Southern Water has issued a statement about the major flooding that hit Hastings this week.
Southern Water has issued a statement about the major flooding that hit Hastings this week.

A spokesperson for Southern Water said its outfall pipe, which some people believe was to blame for the flooding, ‘was working fine the whole time’ and that the incident was a product of heavy rain falling on already waterlogged ground.

Alex Saunders, head of wastewater networks at Southern Water, said: “We know how distressing flooding is for householders and business owners.

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"Months of exceptional rain have left the ground waterlogged and every fresh fall of rain has no where to go – as can be seen by the number of rivers bursting their banks.

“We are currently helping customers across the region deal with the aftermath of flooding by cleaning properties and using specialist drying equipment.

“Our assets continued to work properly throughout the latest bout of floods and we’ve been using hundreds of tankers and pumps to reduce the risk of homes flooding internally.

“All agencies are working closely together to support victims and ensure resilience if further rain comes across the region.”

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John Bownas, manager of Love Hastings Ltd, said virtually every business in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre was affected and that the flood ‘has been a disaster waiting to happen for several years’ after Southern Water’s outflow pipe became blocked several years ago.

He said: “That pipe is the responsibility of Southern Water, but it took until a couple of months ago to get this acknowledged and to accept that it links back to pipework running from Alexandra Park, along South Terrace, under the shopping centre, and finally down to the beach.

“Once they had finally understood the issue, Southern Water put in the pumping system that people will have seen on that junction, but from this morning's incident it's fundamentally clear that the pumps are not up to the job of protecting homes and businesses in the town.

Southern Water disputes this and said that a single outfall – even if completely blocked – would have made ‘almost zero difference’ to what happened in the town.

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Many organisations have been involved in the major clean-up operation, including East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service who left the scene at 4.40pm today (January 17), after spending the day pumping water from affected shops and premises at Priory Meadow.

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