Plans are underway to divert rising floodwater away from homes and businesses in parts of Kenley and Purley tonight. As the situation in the area continues to deteriorate, and with more heavy rain forecast, a decision has been made to pump excess water away from the worst affected areas and into the Purley Cross gyratory pedestrian underpass (the picture shows the underpass when it last flooded in 2007).
This action is being taken in a bid to protect around 400 homes and businesses and to keep the Kenley water treatment works from being flooded by surging water. The subway would act as a secondary ‘balancing’ pond, as the over flowing primary pond at Purley Depot breached overnight, with water spilling onto Brighton Road. The decision was made by the major incident "gold command" team, comprising representatives of the council, the Environment Agency, emergency services, neighbouring authorities, Thames Water and TfL.
It will allow emergency services and council engineers to pump water quickly away from vulnerable areas and take pressure out of the water system.
Should the Kenley pumping station be put out of action by rising water, or the clean water become contaminated, thousands of homes could be left without water, a situation all parties are determined to try to prevent.
Council leader Mike Fisher said: “This has not been an easy decision to take but it has become increasingly clear over the past few hours that we have no alternative if we are to protect people’s homes and businesses from being flooded.”
Croydon Council declared the situation in parts of south of the borough as a major incident on Thursday, with officers working round-the-clock to pump and divert water away from residential areas and to protect the water treatment works from closing.
Hundreds of sandbags have also been laid around water plant to protect it from further surcharges of groundwater.
Water levels are being closely monitored and drainage channels are being constantly cleared to ease pressure.
Local residents and businesses potentially affected by the rising water levels have been visited by council and advised to be prepared. And letters have been delivered to around 1500 homes.
Regularly updated information can be found on the council’s website at www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/emergencies/floods
To check current flood warnings call the Environment Agency’s floodline on 0845 988 1188