Summer storms in 2015 saw four properties and the Witham Brook Park Industrial Estate flooded when water levels in the brook rose substantially following heavy rain. The culvert under the industrial estate became blocked by debris and rubbish, causing the water to back up and spill over its banks.
But now the Environment Agency has worked with partners to reduce the risk of this happening again.
The narrow, steep banks have been reshaped to make the channel wider, allowing it to better cope with heavy rain and sudden changes in water level. The brook has also been connected to the nearby floodplain so extra water will spill into it first and be less likely to affect properties.
The work, which was carried out by Witham First Internal Drainage Board on behalf of the Environment Agency, will also make the brook easier to access for routine maintenance.
Additionally, debris which could potentially block the channel has been removed so that water can flow more freely. The majority of the debris was garden waste and household rubbish, leading EA staff to remind residents not to dispose of their waste in the brook.
Jeremy Brown, Asset Performance Advisor, said:
The work we’ve carried out will help reduce – but not completely remove – the risk of flooding, as the nearby properties are located within a natural floodplain.
Witham Brook responds rapidly to rainfall, and higher flows can pick up any debris or rubbish in the brook, which then collects against the trash screen. This can slow or block the flow, resulting in flooding.
We’d like to remind local people to not throw their garden waste into the water. Even items that seem relatively small can clog the weedscreen, and although we carry out regular clearing and maintenance, it could increase flood risk to your property or those of your neighbours.
The Environment Agency has also thanked Rackham House Floors Ltd, the company with ownership of the culvert, for increasing its active monitoring and maintenance.
The Agency is working with South Kesteven District Council, Witham First IDB and Anglian Water to look at potential further improvements to the brook.