Groundwork puts housing estate SuDS to the test

A sustainable drainage project on a London housing estate has been put to the ultimate test - being deliberately subjected to extreme flooding.

A tanker of water is pumped into a swale in Hammersmith. Image: Groundwork
A tanker of water is pumped into a swale in Hammersmith. Image: Groundwork

A 10,000L tanker of water was poured into a swale on the Queen Caroline Estate over the course of an hour this morning (29 July), simulating a one-in-100-year flood event.

The swale is among several sustainable drainage (SuDS) measures installed around Queen Caroline Estate as part of a collaboration between environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London and the Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council.

This morning's experiment aimed to test the capacity of the swale to hold and drain water in the event of flash flooding.

Groundwork was pleasantly surprised to find drainage was completely achieved within around two hours, which was faster than expected.

Video and time lapse cameras captured this morning's event, and the University of East London will carry out a detailed analysis of the swale's performance.

It is hoped that data capture and analysis will help prove the efficacy of SuDS in relieving surface flooding and encourage other councils and housing providers to retrofit them more widely.

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