Work under way to tackle cemetery flooding

Published Wednesday, 22nd July 2020

Work is starting this week on a major project to tackle flooding problems in Hartlepool’s Stranton Cemetery after a pilot scheme proved a success.

Flooding has been an ongoing issue at the cemetery, with parts of the site - including a number of graves - standing in water after heavy rain.

Surveys by Hartlepool Borough Council revealed that a naturally-occurring layer of clay up to 10 metres thick prevents water draining into the ground.

As a result, over the next 12 weeks, the Council will be drilling hundreds of vertical bore holes into the ground in the flood-prone areas, to allow water to pass through the clay and drain naturally away.

The second and final phase of the work – which will be carried out in spring 2021 when the ground is once again firmer – will further enhance the drainage by adding small gravel-topped drainage trenches linking the tops of the bore holes.

Neither the bore holes nor the trenches will encroach onto the graves themselves and the work itself will be carried out as discreetly as possible with minimum disruption to the normal operation of the cemetery.

The project follows a pilot scheme which the Council has been trialling in one of the worst-affected parts of the cemetery since the winter of 2018.

Councillor John Tennant, Chair of the Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “The flooding has been very upsetting and I understand the distress it has caused to families with loved ones laid to rest in the cemetery.

“Our pilot scheme has been very successful, taking away most if not all of the water, and we have received a lot of positive comments from visitors to the cemetery, so I am delighted that we are now able to start the project in full.

“I would like to reassure people that – just as in the pilot scheme - the work will be carried out very carefully and the drainage will not encroach onto the graves themselves.

“I would also like to thank people in advance for their patience and understanding while the work is being carried out – it will be done as discreetly as possible with minimum disruption to the normal operation of the cemetery.”