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Scottish Water clean up after Forres flash flood


By Garry McCartney

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Remedial work at the roundabout at the junction of South Street, Tolbooth Street, St Leonard's Road, Sanquhar Road and Orchard Road. Picture by Simon Wilderspin
Remedial work at the roundabout at the junction of South Street, Tolbooth Street, St Leonard's Road, Sanquhar Road and Orchard Road. Picture by Simon Wilderspin

SCOTTISH Water is dealing with the fallout from Tuesday evening's flash flood in Forres.

A local team is cleaning up affected areas, particularly those affected by sewage overspill including at South Street and Orchard Road.

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “Forres was affected by a short but very intense rainstorm on Tuesday evening at around 6pm. Initial radar data suggests that the intensity of rainfall at its peak exceeded 32mm per hour. By way of comparison, only a little over 50mm of rainfall would normally be expected over the whole month of July.

“The intense storm rapidly exceeded the capacity of the town’s urban drainage systems, including road gullies, surface water pipes, combined sewers and confined or culverted watercourses. This caused flooding both from overland flows of surface water and, in some areas, from the combined sewer where it was overwhelmed by stormwater."

There was widespread flash flooding affecting lower lying areas in Forres during and after an intense rainstorm that started just before 6pm on Tuesday evening, following warm weather.

Intense rainfall of this kind can exceed the capacity of urban drainage systems because of the volume of water falling in such short time. Flooding can result from overland flows of water, including from road drains and sewers without the capacity to accept it from adjoining ground.

Scottish Water also confirmed there was surcharging of stormwater from the sewer at low points on the network but by Wednesday the sewer network was operating normally.

The spokesperson suggested that water retained at South Street and on Orchard Road may have been caused by road drains becoming blocked by debris carried from the overland flows of stormwater.

Moray Council is responsible for getting road drains cleared and flowing again. According to their records, the last cyclical gully clean on South Street, Orchard Road and Councillors Walk was in last November and December.

A spokesperson said: "If our gullies are blocked they won’t cause sewage to spill onto roads and footways. They simply won’t allow surface water to drain away. It’s our understanding that there is a sewer capacity issue in these areas of Forres that Scottish Water are aware of."

Sanquhar Road immediately after the rain on Tuesday evening. Picture by Simon Wilderspin
Sanquhar Road immediately after the rain on Tuesday evening. Picture by Simon Wilderspin

Scottish Water's team responded to reports of flood damage on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday, assisting customers, assessing affected areas and ensuring the sewer network had returned to normal operation.

A clean-up of external areas where sewer flooding occurred is underway and will continue this (Thursday) morning.

The spokesperson said: "We understand that any flooding from the sewer is unpleasant and apologise to customers who have been affected by this.

"It is not practical or sustainable to engineer combined sewer systems to cope with extreme storms of the kind that are occurring with increasing frequency across Scotland.

"We will always do our best to respond, assist customers and clean up as quickly as we can where flooding from the sewer occurs.

"In the longer term, we will continue to work actively with the council, developers and other partners to seek ways to manage surface water in a more sustainable way above ground."

Scottish Water encourage customers who experience flooding to call 0800 077 8778 or visit https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/help-and-resources/contact-us/contacting-us.



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