Guernsey Water creates sustainable drainage system at Vauvert Primary School

May 19th, 2017 by Guernsey Water

Guernsey Water, in partnership with Education Services and Vauvert Primary School in St Peter Port, has installed a sustainable drainage system (SuDS) at the school, which has reduced the quantity and the speed of the flow of surface water into the foul water network.

The alley has been covered in a permeable resin-bound material, which is angled gently towards the planted swale to retain even more water (click image to expand)

An alley behind the Vauvert Primary School building has been modified and resurfaced with a permeable resin-bound material to help reduce the amount of water that enters drains, and may overwhelm them in a short time during periods of heavy rainfall.

Tarmac along the outer wall of the alley has been removed to create a planted swale consisting of graded stone, grit and top soil, which receives about 200 square metres of runoff water.

Drainpipes down the side of the building, which service a roof area of about 550 square metres, have been diverted into large recycled plastic planters, where rainwater percolates through soil and stones to slow down the flow before it is discharged into a drain.

Recycled plastic planters filled with plants and soil intercept the downpipes to retain water and release it slowly into the drainage system (click image to expand)

“Water runoff from impermeable, heavily tarmacked or paved areas can be the cause of serious problems downstream,” said Jon Holt, operations manager for Guernsey Water.

Vauvert Primary School is situated upstream of St Peter Port’s sewer network and had a large impermeable area connected to the sewerage system (some 4,000m²) which, during heavy rainfall, contributed a considerable amount of surface water into the sewer network.

The school needed to carry out essential maintenance work to the alley way which gave Guernsey Water the opportunity to implement a number of SuDS techniques.

The retrofit has lessened the risk of flooding and pollution downstream, as well as increasing the size of the play area for the children. The alley now contains a row of shrubs along a wall, which attracts insects and birds.  Children play on the permeable surface of the alley and can enjoy seeing the insect and bird life that visits the area.

The Vauvert Primary School project showcases SuDS techniques, and helps educate pupils, teachers and parents about SuDS at the same time. These infrastructure improvements can be applied at home,” said Imogen Berryman, network manager for Guernsey Water who was responsible for the project.

“This is not going to be a quick fix and solve all the islands flooding issues, but it’s something we hope people will consider at home when resurfacing and extending or when designing commercial or domestic new builds,” said Miss Berryman.

Tarmac was removed from around the base of the trees so that water could drain through the soil to slow its progression during periods of heavy rainfall (click image to expand)

Educational information boards have been put up around the school to inform pupils and visitors about the work that has been done.

Tim Walters, head teacher at Vauvert Primary School, is extremely pleased with the work.

“It has been a very positive project for all of us.

The changes Guernsey Water has made has not only rejuvenated a redundant area of the playground but have also added so much value to student learning.

A lot of the plants in the swale and the planters specifically encourage bird life and insects and we regularly hold outdoor lessons on biodiversity and wildlife,” he said.


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