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Water Management Firm, ACO, urges civil engineers to install sustainable water drainage and conservation systems across their sites. 

With September 2022 awash with heavy thunderstorms and inclement downpours, the result was over 27mm of extra rainfall. New research from the State of the UK Climate Report confirms the trend, observing a growth in the frequency and intensity of rainfall across the UK.

Heavy rainfall is problematic for developers, potentially causing myriad issues including damage to the works, collapsing excavations, materials and earthworks becoming saturated or waterlogged, and plants and surfaces being slippery when wet, creating unsafe working conditions. 

Water Management Company ACO has urged developers to install better systems to appropriately conserve and disperse water when storms hit. They suggest having sustainable drainage systems in place to ensure good surface run-off, preventing waterlogging by retaining water as high up on site as possible. 

Examples of sustainable drainage solutions include bio-retention channels, rain gardens, swales and tree pits. Working in different ways, these methods channel excess rainfall to flow from hard surfaces and roads into safe storage tanks. In turn, this allows the water to slowly feed back into the ground and waterways, rather than flooding sewers. 

ACO also advises civil engineers to include trees and green areas in their site designs to ensure natural drainage where possible while also safeguarding local wildlife and helping to combat carbon pollution. 

ACO sustainability lead Adam Cane said: “The UK’s climate is changing rapidly and we’re seeing more regular cycles of extreme weather events. This is creating two challenges. Firstly, sites are starved of water and biodiversity suffers as a result. Secondly, flash floods and downpours mean large amounts of stormwater enter our systems and may bypass treatment, which can then mean harmful pollutants get washed into the surrounding ecological systems.

“This is something that needs to be considered early in the design by the construction industry and there are ways in which highways professionals can help protect our environment. The key to any new site development is to limit our intrusion into nature wherever possible and keep as much of the natural environment in place.” 

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