4/8/07 - Gloucester Echo

'WE WEREN'T PREPARED FOR FLOODING AT PLANT'


09:00 - 04 August 2007

Severn Trent has admitted it did not have a plan in place to cope with the flooding of the Mythe Water Treatment Plant.Customer relations director Martin Kane admitted that the company had not considered improving flood defences at the Tewkesbury plant when he was interviewed by Mark Cummings on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

Risk assessments carried out by Severn Trent led the company to believe the chance of flooding was minimal and because of this there was no contingency plan in place.

He said: "At the last review of the plant in 2004 the risk of the flood defences being breached was estimated to be one in a 1,000.

"The plant was built above the flood plain and so the protection and flood defences were considered to be adequate.

"It was risk assessed and it was thought that it would not happen."

However the disaster became a reality when the swollen River Severn burst its banks and engulfed the water treatment plant flooding the area with contaminated water.

The contamination led to the water supply to 140,000 homes being cut off due to worries about infection.

The water company has now installed a reinforced bund wall to protect the plant from future flooding.

It also been criticised for their lack of local knowledge and the delay in asking for military assistance.

Mr Kane said Severn Trent had updated its systems to better represent the geography of the county and that army assistance had been requested as soon as it was possible.

He conceded there were lessons to be learnt from the disaster.

He said: "We have to up our game now and we need to learn from this and we have to go back and look at all of our sites."