Environmental Defence Systems is helping a young family suffering severe flooding problems at their rural home due to a long-running battle with their local council.
Lewyn Clegg lives in a terraced cottage in a village near Huddersfield with fiancée Natalie Dossor and their two young children but their cellar keeps filling up with floodwater.
Lewyn suspected the water is from a blocked culvert and dug a deep hole in his garden to uncover the culvert and show it wasn’t blocked on his property. He has now asked his local authority, Kirklees Council, to find the blockage which he is sure is beneath a nearby road junction and fix it.
But the council says the old culvert is not on their maps and so it has no responsibility to repair it.
This means Lewyn often has to use electric pumps to get rid of the floodwater from his cellar, over his garden wall and onto Wall Nook Lane near its junction with Haddingley Lane but the water has been coming back into the garden through the wall and gate, adding to the problem.
Huddersfield company Environmental Defence Systems Ltd make an alternative sandbag called FloodSax which is used worldwide to solve flooding problems and when they learned of the family’s plight offered to help.
They have used around 30 FloodSax sandless sandbags to prevent the water flowing back into the garden and left the family with 40 more FloodSax which can be used to soak up any water which backs up into the cellar from the blocked culvert.
Lewyn said: “It depends on how high the water table is as to how bad the cellar and garden flood. The water runs from the field behind the cottage, through a culvert beneath the cottage and then under a road junction outside our front gate and into a field opposite.
“We’ve dug the hole to prove the culvert isn’t blocked on our land and we think it’s blocked under the road a few feet from our gate.”
The hole is so deep the house is now supported by scaffolding poles as a precaution against any risk of collapse and Lewyn added: “You can see that the water which would normally be taken away from the property is static in the culvert. Due to a collapse in the culvert roof underneath the highway the culvert is now ineffective and consequently floods the basement when it rains heavily. The current situation means I need electric pumps which are now working constantly to pump the water away from the basement.”
Lewyn has rejected the council’s stance that it’s nothing to do with them.
He said: “It’s been established beyond doubt that it’s the responsibility of Kirklees Council to unblock the culvert underneath their highway.
“We dug the hole after the council’s main excuse for not fulfilling their civic duty was that the ‘ancient’ culvert was not on any of their maps and that it was blocked under our land. With external surveys and groundworks experts we have been able to disprove both theories, leaving Kirklees with no plausible reasoning.”
Environmental Defence Systems Ltd is based in Golcar and managing director Richard Bailey said: “This is clearly a serious situation for this young family and as soon as we heard about what was happening to them we wanted to help in any way we could.”
FloodSax resemble large pillowcases in their dry state but once they are immersed in water the special gelling polymer inside absorbs the water and transforms the FloodSax into an instant sandbag but without the sand. They are way more environmentally friendly than traditional sandbags and are 96% biodegradable by weight.
When dry, they are very flat with a large surface area so can soak up water in otherwise inaccessible places such as beneath floorboards or where pumping equipment can’t reach.
Richard added: “The FloodSax will stop the water they pump out from running back into the property and they can also be used to soak up floodwater that can’t be pumped out of the cellar.
“We just hope this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible as it’s clearly causing a great deal of distress and anxiety.”