Hampshire City Council have linked with engineering and public services provider Amey to trial a new sensor to help combat flooding when drains are blocked.
Until now, Hampshire’s gullies (drainage pits covered by a metal grating located on the road edge) had only been inspected on a cyclic or risk-based basis. In an attempt to prevent flooding in Hampshire on these roads, Ferrovial´s UK based subsidiary Amey have installed sensors which will detect a build-up of silt and rising water levels inside. After detection, they proceed to send live data to the control centre via web-based, mapped, visualisation software which will show whether or not a gully needs to be cleaned. Using this information, the software can then combine weather forecasting with silt levels in order to plan a gully clearance in advance instead of only being able to react to a spill after it happens. If the technology turns out to be successful, the guilles will only require to be cleaned when they run the risk of flooding. As well as new sensors, a new fleet of gully emptying vehicles will be taking to the roads of Hampshire to prepare the drains and gullies for winter weather. They are well equipped for the job, with automatic gearboxes and the ability to absorb silt from up to 30m deep.
According to Amey account director Paul Anderson, “This is exciting, new technology which should enable us to be much more proactive in terms of preventing gullies becoming flooded. We have installed 25 sensors in known ‘high risk’ gullies and are currently collecting information at these sites. If these sensors works as well as we hope they will, then it could lead to a radically different approach in Hampshire and elsewhere.”Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at the County Council re-enforced the need for prevention, commenting, “Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and keeping the water off Hampshire's 5,300 miles of road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways work throughout the winter.’