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Dalton residents call for answers over flooding
A FREAK storm overwhelmed a town’s sewage system, causing devastating flooding which left people homeless for weeks.
Dozens of frustrated Dalton-in-Furness residents demanded answers from public bodies as to why the town was so badly affected by last month’s deluge.
Andrew Jefferson, of United Utilities, told a public meeting in the town that an investigation had been carried out since the floods on August 5 which caused 20 homes in the Newton Road area to be engulfed with more than a foot of waste.
“We found that the sewers were operating as they should – it was the sheer volume of water in such an intense and short space of time that caused the flooding,” he said. “It was a one in 598 years storm and drainage systems are constructed to withstand those that are one in 30.”
During the storm raw sewage flowed down the street, houses were damaged and some residents have still not returned home after 40mm of rain fell in an hour.
Gary Thompson of Cumbria County Council’s highways department blamed the ‘exceptionally heavy rainfall’ for the devastation and told the meeting in the Drill Hall that the authority was ‘committed’ to looking into it.
One issue discussed was the electricity pump which was switched off by Electricity North West after instructions were issued by the police.
The company’s fault man-ager Jane Fleetwood said: “Our engineers visited properties and withdrew the mains supply where it was not safe to have electricity on. But we went back out when it was safe.”
Mayor of Dalton Coun Barry Doughty, who chaired the meeting, said residents needed answers and to know what was being done to prevent similar incidents in the future – and it was important to address issues of communication.
He called for Electricity North West, Cumbria Highways and United Utilities to provide written answers by the end of September, stating what work they would carry out, which would then be distributed to residents.
Peter Dawes, of Juniper Close, said: “We were hit quite badly and have two young kids so it’s hard work. No-one seems to say they will do anything concrete – it’s OK to get a letter but we need action.”
Mr Doughty said that the meeting had helped residents to feel that somebody cared and that residents now had a collective voice.