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Gummed-up Gullies

Clogged with mud
Mud and leaves
Yet another clogged G&K gulley
A heavyweight Henry vacuum
Clogged with straw
Even more clogged
Lots of leaves in this one
Another clogged G&K gulley
Gully Sucker

Although there are huge areas still severely affected by flooding or the effects of flooding some of the causes of this depressing event can and should be easily remedied.

I have been out and about recently looking at roads where flooding has occurred, not all of it severe, but certainly areas where large pools of water form and are slow to drain away or where water has been directed because of blocked roadside gullies. Pools of water on highways present a hazzard to motorists, large areas can make roads impassable.

I was surprised to find many drains and gullies blocked - I have attached a few images to illustrate the point. What to me is patently obvious is that:-

A. One of the main cause of blockage in rural areas particularly is the result of Hedge Trimming - actually ‘Trimming’ is too soft a word - the effect of the modern flail type mechanism is to thrash the hedges to bits and leave a trail of vegetation of the sort of size that, with the onset of rain, heads towards the nearest gulley or drain, and

B. The failure of those performing the hedge cutting to clear up the gutters & gullies afterwards. They actually have a legal obligation to clear up afterwards (According to Devon C.C.) Because this is seldom if ever done the grilles, gratings and drains become blocked and, guess what, the local authorities only very ocasionally send the Gulley Sucker Vehicle out to clear them other than on the Once Per Year Cleaning and often this is operated on a Priority Scale:- ‘A’ Class Roads first, then ‘B’ etc etc. so it’s up to the Individual to report blocked drains.

Go to www.devon.gov.uk select ‘Roads & Drainage’, then ‘Drainage’ and follow the link to the form. Fill in the approprate questions as asked and SUBMIT.

To the uninitiated these drains at the side of the road are, so I believe, very similar to your ‘S’ Bend and Trap on a domestic sink or bath. Initially material passes through the little holes where the plug goes in, then the heavy matter accumulates at the bottom of the ‘S’ bend. If the holes get blocked or the ‘S’ bend gets blocked - Hey Presto - Flooded Kitchen - or Bathroom - or Highway!

Remedy ? - keep the trap clear and the grille clear. If a roadside gulley / drain gets blocked water will accumulate or get diverted, usually to where it shouldn’t.

To add a miniscule amount of humour to this otherwise serious subject - ONLY TWO OUT OF THE EIGHT BLOCKED ROADSIDE DRAINS I FOUND WERE MANUFACTURED BY GARTON AND KING LTD, the other six were unmarked.

HOWEVER - they were all in Devon but I am convinced this problem extends nationwide and is neglected by every Local Authority and in reality the cost of rectifying the damaged caused is far in excess of the cost of regular cleaning by that not so often seen Appliance - The Gulley Sucker. For the uninitiated I have attached an image of one!

My Thanks to Tim Pile, IT Manager, Whale Tankers Ltd, SOLIHULL for providing the ‘In Action’ image.
Tel: 0121 704 5700, Website: http://www.whale.co.uk

Richard Holladay

March 2014
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