Complicated geology condition caused a significant delay in the construction process of a water management system for Skewen, which suffered flooding due to a mine shaft “blowout” earlier this year.
Extended wet weather and heavy rainfall from Storm Christoph on 21 January, caused 77 homes and gardens in Skewen, Wales, to be flooded by water which blew out of historical mine workings. Based on the Coal Authority’s investigations, the incident was the result of a blockage in an old drainage adit.
According to the detailed site investigations and design work, the Coal Authority has currently commenced constructing a new system that will gather extra mine water caused by prolonged rainfall.
However, the Coal Authority’s recent investigations and the unique geology of the site revealed that wide, additional engineering is required to stabilize the ground around the blowout to provide the essential foundations for the new pipework and mine water capture structure.
Additionally, gas, electricity, water, and telephone utilities have all had to be relocated by the relevant utility providers.
Creating a constant route for water from the nearby mine workings, which should keep properties safe, constructing boreholes and a concrete capture structure to collect and route the mine water into a new culvert, and also featuring real-time telemetry monitoring, are the advantages of the new water management scheme.
The estimated completion date of the permanent scheme at the junction of Goshen Park is the end of the year and the scheme was designed in consultation with residents and partner organizations including Neath Port Talbot Council and Natural Resources Wales.
In accordance with the Coal Authority statement, construction is underway while inhabitants continue to be preserved through measures put in place by it following the flood in January.
Checking the water levels in the mine system and monitoring works in real-time, is done by the authority’s teams daily. Moreover, a high-capacity water pump remains on standby for use by the Coal Authority as an extra safeguard.
Since January, the Coal Authority has also completed a clean-up operation, repaired drainage systems, and offered residents like-for-like reinstatement of damaged gardens and outside areas up to £2,000.
“We can reassure the community that the risk of a similar incident is incredibly low as a result of the measures we’ve put in place since January, including monitoring water levels around the clock. While the new mine water management system will take longer than expected to build as a result of the geology found on site, it will provide an effective and permanent solution when completed,” said Lisa Pinney, Coal Authority’s chief executive.
She continued: “We are sorry for the ongoing disruption to residents caused by the road closure and are working hard to enable Neath Port Talbot Council to reopen the road as soon as it is safe to do so.”