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Residents learn more about how Southern Water is tackling storm overflows on the Isle of Wight

Residents learn more about how Southern Water is tackling storm overflows on the Isle of Wight

Residents living in and around Gurnard on the Isle of Wight found out more about the work we’re doing to reduce storm overflows.

More than 90 people gathered at Gurnard Village Hall in Worsley Road where they were given updates about the Sandown Pathfinder Project. 

The project has been set up by Southern Water’s Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force in partnership with Isle of Wight Council, the Environment Agency and Island Roads to tackle storm overflows and surface water flooding.  

Residents learnt more about the Sandown pathfinder work which includes: 

  • Optimising existing shared infrastructure such as roadside gullies, private sewers and our own assets.
  • Adding increased treatment capacity to existing drainage infrastructure
  • Managing the roof drainage of 25 large buildings
  • Working with the Local Authority to improve highway drainage and create greener, sustainable roadside features
  • Installing thousands of slow-drain water butts to slow the flow of rainfall entering the combined sewer

Among those in attendance to look at the project in further detail were councillors from Isle of Wight Council, including Councillor for Cowes West and Gurnard, Paul Fuller.

Cllr Fuller said:

“It was a welcomed opportunity to discuss proposals from Southern Water on their pathfinder project.

“From my perspective, it was fantastic to listen to views of residents and wider stakeholders on positive action by the water company to reduce the impact of storm water at Cowes and Gurnard.

“It is reassuring to know that Southern Water takes seriously the concerns of our community.”

Pathfinder Lead Keith Herbert said: 

“We were so pleased so many people got the chance to learn more about the work we’re doing to reduce storm overflows. We’re working really closely with the Environment Agency and Isle of Wight Council to create a sustainable network on the island. The project is starting to show some good early results and we want to build on this momentum to meet our targets to significantly reduce storm overflow releases.”

Each pathfinder looks at different challenges to overcoming the root causes of storm overflows – primarily rainwater overloading the system or groundwater infiltrations. Solutions being implemented include designing and building wetlands, installing sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS), improving sewer infrastructure and using  nature-based solutions such as creating wetlands within local communities. 

Other pathfinders are in Fairlight in East Sussex, Pan Parishes in Hampshire and Margate, Swalecliffe and Deal in Kent.