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Clapton flooding clean-up: Neighbours count cost after 30 million litres of water pour into street from burst pipe

PUBLISHED: 17:38 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 08 October 2018

A family being rescued from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul Wood

A family being rescued from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul Wood

Archant

As the last of 30 million litres of water trickle back into the River Lea, neighbours affected by Tuesday’s burst pipe in the now aptly named Waterworks Lane are beginning to count the cost.

Round-the-clock pumping since Wednesday has only lowered the water by a few feet. Picture: Jack ColyerRound-the-clock pumping since Wednesday has only lowered the water by a few feet. Picture: Jack Colyer

People in the nearby Paradise Park flats can only stand by and watch teams from Thames Water pump out the last of their underground car park, which was left under six feet of water on Tuesday morning.

Belongings, including a pair of illegally parked and dirty cars, a selection of storage containers and odd bits of clothing are only now becoming visible after 24 hours under water.

“This is the second time now this car park has flooded,” Kriss Lee told the Gazette.

A muddy car is revealed after flood water is pumped from the underground garage. Picture: Jack ColyerA muddy car is revealed after flood water is pumped from the underground garage. Picture: Jack Colyer

“It’s on a flood plain, so what do you expect?”

The land, he says, was occupied by a canal dock until 1966. “Well, it’s a dock again, I suppose,” he said.

Max Scott-Slade, 33, has been left with no power or water.

The crater created by the burst Victorian pipe. Picture: Jack ColyerThe crater created by the burst Victorian pipe. Picture: Jack Colyer

“It has been a very stressful last few days,” he said.

“The water being pumped out is only half the problem – it has potentially structurally damaged the building due to the pressure on the walls.”

He added: “The whole system needs to be drained, which could take weeks, apparently, and sharing externally located showers and toilets is degrading.

New piping ready to replace the old Victorian pipes: Jack ColyerNew piping ready to replace the old Victorian pipes: Jack Colyer

“The only upside is our neighbours have come together in true London spirit and have helped each other through it.”

Others seemed to have had an easier time of it.

Shop worker Marry Jay, who had to be evacuated by the fire brigade on a raft yesterday, was this morning back to work at Archi, off Lea Bridge Road, with little trouble.

A pair of shoes floats in the remains of the water. Picture: Jack ColyerA pair of shoes floats in the remains of the water. Picture: Jack Colyer

She and shop owner Mrs Kumalnan had nothing but praise for the for the clean-up effort.

“It’s excellent,” said Marry, 56. “I’m surprised how fast the clean up has been, but I do feel sorry for those who had stuff in the underground car park.”

Thames Water engineers at the site said they had stopped the flow from the now sizeable crater made by the burst Victorian pipe next to the Princess of Wales pub, and expected repairs to take “about a month”.

A rescue from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul WoodA rescue from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul Wood

The supplier has confirmed it will cover the cost of damages or loss caused by the flood, as well as crediting customers whose supply ends up being off longer than 48 hours.

It has no estimate as yet of the cost of fixing the pipe or covering insurance claims.

Fire brigade station manager Jason Frisby said last night: “Firefighters worked hard to reduce the impact of the burst water main on local homes and commercial properties.

A submerged car in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul WoodA submerged car in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul Wood

“We worked with Thames Water and the Environment Agency to divert the clean water into the nearby River Lea and asked people to avoid Lea Bridge Road and the surrounding area.

“This was an extensive flood. Fortunately we are well equipped to deal with flooding but it is certainly quite unusual for firefighters to have to rescue people with inflatable boats in the capital.”

About 40 firefighters from Homerton, Stoke Newington, Bethnal Green and Euston stations were sent to the scene, and spent more than 10 hours there yesterday.

A Thames Water spokesperson said the pipe that burst had not been due for replacement.

“Following any burst on our trunk mains – the biggest pipes in our network – we carry out a full investigation,” she said, “including analysis of the damaged section of pipe.

“If this concludes the rest of the pipe could need relining or replacing then it will be factored in to our investment plans for the future.

A family being rescued from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul WoodA family being rescued from the floods in Clapton on Wednesday morning. Picture: Paul Wood

“We have replaced around two thirds of Hackney’s smaller water distribution pipes since 2010, more than in many other parts of London, although not the larger trunk mains, like the one that burst this week.

“Replacing trunk mains is a huge undertaking so it’s generally done when there is need and with a long-term plan, not just because other pipes in the area have been upgraded.

“When we look at where to focus our investment we will replace those pipes which are most in need first, so this doesn’t always mean the oldest or biggest are replaced first, as a number of factors cause pipes to deteriorate including the geology of the area.”

Flooding at the Grade-II listed Old School House. Picture: Kriss LeeFlooding at the Grade-II listed Old School House. Picture: Kriss Lee

She added £11.7billion would be invested in the network by 2025, including plans to replace 705km of water mains and an extra £2.1bn to improve the pipes’ resilience.

Are you affected by the flooding? Call the news desk on 020 7433 0110.

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