Sustainable Drainage Systems

Flooded grass
Today, it seems that not a year passes without some level of flooding during the wetter months of the year in the UK, and it’s a problem that is set to get worse.

Sewage Problems

Although any sort of house flooding is devastating for those concerned, one of the biggest concerns for local councils and water management companies is sewage mixing with the surface floodwater. When normal rainwater drains can’t sustain the excess water, this floods sewage drains. The result is sewage released by blown manhole covers, or coming back into properties via WCs.

Local authorities, water management companies,
the Natural Environmental Research Council and many others, are actively looking into sustainable drainage systems as a way of solving these problems. So what are sustainable drainage systems, and how do they work?

Natural Drainage

Consider the UK before industrialisation: the rain would fall, soak into the ground, and filter through the substrate to subterranean reservoirs, or find its way to natural rivers, and finally out to sea.

In today’s modern world, more and more land is being urbanised. Brownfield sites are being used up, and commerce and industry are slowly eating into Greenfield sites. All this means less natural land for rainwater to soak away. Greater urbanisation means more concrete, brickwork, and tarmac – materials that water can’t filter through.

Instead, we have to rely on rainwater drainage and sewage pipes to carry this excess rainwater away. Unfortunately, due to heavier rainfall and greater urbanisation, much of this pipework can no longer cope with the increasing volumes of water, and flooding results.

Sustainable Drainage System

Drainage gully
In layman’s terms, sustainable drainage is a way of emulating nature’s natural method of removing excess water. Incorporating sustainable drainage will allow continued use of land for building purposes, without increasing the risk of additional flooding.

Sustainable drainage will be extensively used at the very source of the problem, where water begins to gather on the surface. If this initial surface water can be effectively drained at higher levels, it reduces the risk of flooding at lower levels, where the problems usually occur.

Greater Initial Cost

Greater ground surveys will need to be undertaken to ascertain substrate type, which will increase the initial cost to builders, and no doubt subsequently to the homebuyer. Water will pass easily through sand or gravel, but not clay. Will extra water in the ground cause landslides or other forms of landmass unrest, affecting foundations and the like?

Once the substrate types are known, construction of residential estates and commercial, industrial parks can be carried out accordingly, using little ‘hard’ materials, such as concrete and tarmac, in favour of block paving, and other more permeable materials, which allow surface water to drain more easily into the ground.

In addition, sustainable drainage also includes incorporating ponds, or areas of wetland. A greater use of grids will be made, allowing excess water to pass through directly into the substrate, rather than into drains.

It should be a Win, Win Situation

Those previously affected by flooding should now be flood free. Residents where sustainable drainage is used should benefit from more green space, recreational facilities incorporating sustainable drainage, and a less harsh-looking environment. Householders should see some benefit in reduced property insurance premiums, and the local authorities and water companies should gain from reduced maintenance costs.

Express Drainage Solutions are on hand throughout the South East to carry out thorough and effective drain unblocking or extraction at all premises. If you are experiencing overflowing drains after flooding, give the experts at Express Drainage Solutions a call today to find out how our services can help.


Want more information?Contact us today on 020 3124 1785

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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Category: Drainage


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