Flooding and roads aftermath Jul 8 2015 | Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council teams are today continuing to clean up and assess damage after the heavy rainfall yesterday led to several floods around the city.

Road crews worked through the night to deal with immediate problems and extra vehicles were also deployed, including gully cleaners. More than 40 people were deployed during the evening and throughout the night.

More than 600 sandbags were distributed throughout Aberdeen, by City Council teams, residents going to the Tullos Road depot and collecting their own, and also in partnership working with fire crews.

Repairs are now being progressed for the worst sections of roads which were damaged by the floods.

Temporary traffic lights were installed on Jesmond Drive from 9am today until midnight on Friday. The road will be closed between the Jesmond Avenue and Newburgh Drive junctions, for public safety during emergency repairs to the road after part of it collapsed due to the flooding yesterday.

The flooding has highlighted what plans and practical measures are in place to try and prevent flooding.

  • Yesterday’s storm was due to a rainfall of an intensity which previously happened once every 30 years, but has been happening more frequently recently and is likely to increase further due to global warming.
  • Much of Aberdeen’s below-ground system for rainwater and sewers, is, in common with other centuries-old cities, a combined rainwater-and-sewage system build in the Victorian era.
  • When there is a huge volume of water, the drainage systems back up and man-hole covers lift to relieve pressure
  • There is a consistent problem of people dumping particularly garden waste into burns. When the burns go into spate, the waste is carried downstream and backs up at grills over culvert entrances. The water is then backed up and floods the adjacent roads or properties.
  • Aberdeen City Council is working with Scottish Water to develop a Surface Water Management Plan which has a series of objectives to ease the flooding issues. The City Council is working in partnership with Scottish Water as the best way to solve the issues.
  • Replacing Victorian sewers would cost billions of pounds and would cause severe disruption to the city, so the Plan aims to manage the current system in the most efficient way possible.
  • The Plan includes the creation of three dentention ponds at Westburn Park, Stronsay Park, and at Glashieburn. The Westburn Park pond stops flooding of properties in the Fraser Place area of the city, Stronsay Park alleviates flooding to the Fountainhall area and Glashieburn to the Lochside area of Bridge of Don. These worked well yesterday. For example, the detention pond at Stronsay Park which was only finished two months ago, stored approximately 30,000m3 of water yesterday – equivalent to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools - and protected more than 17 houses from internal flooding and significantly more from basement flooding. It also stopped the localised flooding of Beaconsfield/ Fountainhall Road.
  • The Plan is also encouraging sustainable urban drainage. This includes initiatives such as encouraging people to store rainwater in their gardens though rainbutts, and new housing or industrial developments to have small ponds or grassed areas which would act as detention ponds.
  • Aberdeen City Council has been working closely with its partners Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Water and SEPA to undertake an integrated catchment study (ICS). The aim of the ICS is to establish a more full and robust understanding of the performance and interaction between the sewerage and surface water drainage networks, water courses and the sea.
  • The Plan also includes a computer model which went on-line four months ago. This includes every foul pipe, storm pipe and watercourse in the city and is one of the biggest models of its kind in the country. To give an idea of the scale, there is approximately 300 miles of culverted and unculverted pipes alone. It also takes 14 to 24 hours to run the computer model through a simulation, underlining the sheer scale of the pipework etc in the city.
  • The computer model is being used to assess the current system when it works and does not work, and also developments around the city. One practical way in which the data has been used to develop a strategy specifically for gully-cleaning, to better target problem areas.
  • The computer model will be used to understand why flooding happens and does not happen, and how the flow of water through the systems can impact on different areas.
  • The computer model will be used to continually update the Surface Water Management Plan, and to target specific areas to help prevent flooding.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Our teams worked extremely hard yesterday afternoon, through the night and into today to protect properties and keep people safe on the roads. They should be commended for their efforts.

“Our partners in Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are also to be thanked for their work too in helping people out during the floods.

“We can appreciate that flooding causes huge problems and inconveniences to residents and businesses which is why there are plans in place to alleviate the problems working in partnership with Scottish Water.”

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