Easterly Road flood alleviation project

Fabian looks down some deep holes

At the invitation of Yorkshire Water and their contractor Barhale WSP, Fabian visited the construction site on Easterly Road on Friday 18th May. Hoardings have concealed activity from the public since work began in September 2011 and something so big on the boundary between Leeds North East and Leeds East constituencies naturally attracted his curiosity.

During his visit Fabian met Nicki Walsh (Barhale Site Manager), Paul Almond (Yorkshire Water Project Manager) and Louise Green from Yorkshire Water communications team.

Fabian pictured with Nicki Walsh and Paul Almond. The construction site is in the central reservation of Easterly Road and in the background can be seen houses on either side.

The £3 Million project is a flood protection scheme that will relieve the immediate problems endured by local residents and businesses. It will also provide considerable resilience for future periods of difficult stormy weather. Flooding in urban areas, such as that in the vicinity of Easterly Road, is often caused by existing sewers and storm drains having insufficient capacity to drain away the vast amounts of water that fall during periods of very heavy rain. The water runs off the roofs and pavements into the storm drains. With the trend towards paving over gardens for parking and the construction of garages, there are fewer opportunities for the excess water simply to soak into the ground. The Easterly Road scheme comprises the building of four huge underground storage tanks that can temporarily hold the excess water until it can be pumped away when storm conditions have subsided and demand on other installations has lessened. In this way the disruption and expense of replacing and enlarging existing sewers is avoided since, for most of the time, their performance is satisfactory. The Easterly Road Project includes a further underground chamber that will house a submerged pump, which will be activated as and when required by Yorkshire Water from their Bradford control centre. This pump will discharge the stored water into the main evacuation sewer when storm conditions have passed.

Fabian donned a protective helmet, a high visibility vest, special boots and earplugs to be shown round. The underground storage tanks are cylindrical. Each of the four tanks is 7.5 metres in diameter and approximately 10 metres (32feet) deep. When completed each will be able to hold 400 cubic metres of water (400 metric tonnes). The tank holding the evacuation pump is smaller being only 5.5 metres in diameter.

Fabian inspects the depth and scale of one of the flood control storage tanks under construction on Easterly Road.

Conscious of the Barhale safety briefing that he had just received, Fabian watched workers in the process of completing the concrete floor of one tank and beginning the installation of the pipes that link the storage tanks to the feeder storm drains and to the evacuation tank. Fabian commented, "Flooding is something that nobody should ever have to suffer so I'm delighted to see Yorkshire Water is making great progress on a solution which should help to protect local properties and ensure that flooding in the area is a thing of the past."

The project is scheduled for completion in July 2012.