Exactly a year to the day since floods devastated homes and businesses in Stonehaven, fears were rife that the same was going to happen again.
The sight of several inches of water in the town’s bustling Evan Street on Monday filled many with a sense of dread, but, thankfully, Stoney was spared a repeat of last year’s nightmare.
Aberdeenshire Council have said that discarded cooking fat led to a blockage in a gully in the street, making the clean-up operation longer and more difficult than anticipated.
The council’s head of service roads and landscape, Philip McKay, said: “A team of road engineers were dispatched to deal with surface water ponding in Stonehaven, which was due to a blockage in two gullies on Evan Street.
‘‘While one gully was cleared relatively easily, the other, on the south side of the street, was more problematic.
“Unfortunately, a relatively large quantity of, what appeared to be, cooking fat had found its way into the gully chamber. This blockage was much harder to clear as standard gully maintenance equipment is not designed to deal with such material, and it wasnot a straight forward task for the team to remove the material.
“This led to a slight delay in returning the gully to an operational condition, which was achieved by 4.45 on Monday evening.
“With regard to river levels both SEPA and Aberdeenshire Council monitors these when heavy rain is forecast, and we can confirm that levels in the Kincardine and Mearns area were not a cause for concern on the day.”
Stonehaven and District community council chairman, Michael Innes, said: “Men with brushes don’t clean these drains out.
‘‘Machines will break down and require maintenance but the weather does not stop until it’s fixed.
‘‘After all the investigation work by various contractors after last year’s flooding, drains seem to not cope with heavy rain.”
The Stonehaven Flood Action Group confirmed that they had reported the blockage to the local authority, and raised concerns about the possibility of a drain blockage coinciding with a flooding event.
Lots of you told us your thoughts on the issue via our Facebook page, and we have included a few of the comments in our article on page 5.