Essex floods prompt drain investigation

Southend sea front in bank holiday weekend floods Businesses along Southend seafront were affected by sewage

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Overflowing drains that contributed to flooding in many parts of Essex at the weekend are to be investigated for problems, Anglian Water has said.

A deluge of rain caused flooding in Southend and other areas, with damage estimated at thousands of pounds.

Anglian Water said it would work with councils and agencies to "understand if any lessons can be learned".

The Met Office said 64mm (2.5in) of rain fell in some parts of Essex on Saturday in just four hours.

Essex fire service received more than 400 flood-related calls at the weekend with Southend, Canvey Island, Rayleigh, Westcliff, Basildon, Billericay and Leigh among the worst hit.

George Zinonos, whose family has run Ye Olde Chippy on Marine Parade in Southend for more than 30 years, said his business was hit by a "mini-tsunami of effluence" after a drain burst on Hartington Road.

'Business washed away'
Flood damage to Ye Olde Chippy in Southend Flooding could have put Ye Olde Chippy in Southend out of business

"The level of the water just rose by the inch before our eyes," he said.

"Before we had a chance to do anything, I noticed the plugs in the shop were getting covered with water so we had to switch off all the electrics, but it meant we couldn't put our shutters down and stop the other stuff coming into the shop.

"After about 15 minutes we found ourselves in some two feet of water and unable to do anything about it, and see a lifetime's business washed away in a few hours."

Danny Murley, landlord of the Horse and Groom pub in Rochford, said he returned from a round of golf to find his pub submerged in water after a drain burst.

He said he would have to close for six weeks and has estimated damage and loss of earnings of £50,000.

Anglian Water said: "The flooding in Essex this weekend was the unfortunate result of very heavy rainfall overwhelming the drainage systems.

Businesses had to deal with a wave of floodwater mixed with sewage

"We are committed to work with the other agencies responsible for parts of the drainage networks, including the Environment Agency, highways and council, to investigate and understand if any lessons can be learned."

An Essex County Council spokesman said: "All drains which Essex County Council is responsible for are cleansed annually as outlined in our maintenance policy.

"Residents who have experienced internal flooding within their property can contact the Flood and Water Management Team who will investigate as soon as possible."

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