Some 28,000 tons of sand is on the move in Ryde as temporary work is undertaken to improve the reliability and efficiency of the Monktonmead Pumping Station and to help prevent flooding in the area this winter.
Large diggers and tipper lorries have been trundling along Ryde Sands at low tide for the past week or so as they remove thousands of tons of excess sand from around the pumping station’s outfall pipe, which has been affecting the efficiency of the station.
According to the Environment Agency, the sand has been accumulating and entering the culvert, which partly blocks the pipe and causes the pumps to operate more frequently. The pumps currently operate during most high tides that coincide with wet weather and higher flows in the brook. When the pumping station was built, the pumps only operated during high spring tides that coincided with high flows in the brook, usually during wet weather.
The current clearance of the sand is a temporary measure to help reduce the risk of flooding in the nearby residential area this winter, with work also set to be undertaken to clear the inside of the culvert and inspections carried out on its condition beneath Cornwall Street during November.
A spokesperson for the Enviroenment Agency has told Island Echo:
“We are considering a variety of options to prevent sand interfering with the flow from the brook and are short-listing the most effective and affordable options. We plan to consult the public and our professional partners early in 2015 to gain their views, opinions and preferences.
“To date we have worked with the Isle of Wight Council who are also contributing to the costs of future work, and with Southern Water who are investigating flooding from their sewerage system in the area”.
The sand being removed from the beach is being transported to nearby Appley Beach, as the sand cannot be dumped at Ryde Sands as it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It is hoped the Environment Agency’s work will reduce the risk of flooding to local residents, however it has been said that it will not prevent flooding completely with there being a chance that there will be such high tides and intense storms that both natural and urban drainage is completely overwhelmed, despite the investment and best efforts of engineers.
Initial long-term forecasts for this winter suggest the UK is in for a cold, snowy and mild period compared to the stormy and wild conditions experienced in the 2013/2014 winter.
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