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‘We’re just waiting for the next flood’: Bucksburn residents hit with flooding and sewage in homes every year

Residents living near Newhills Avenue have experienced flooding up to four times a year with some having sewage flood their home.

A collage of a photo of a road closure on Newhills Avenue and flooding in the area in Bucksburn.
Residents near Newhills Avenue have faced road closures, water supply issues and sewage in homes due to flooding issues over the years. Image: DC Thomson/ Michael McCosh, Susan Bremner and Darrell Benns.

For many city dwellers, sandbags are not a regular home or garden decoration but for residents living in one Bucksburn street, they’ve become a necessity.

Those living on Middle Brae are still suffering the aftermath of a flood on nearby Newhills Avenue, which was closed for three weeks.

One witness said the original flood “flowed like the River Dee” from Newhills Avenue down Middle Brae, with residents were left trying to protect their homes and gardens from the torrent of water.

Two and a half hours after the initial call reporting the issue, the water was stopped. But after speaking to The P&J, residents revealed their problems have not.

Rather than being a one-off incident, people living on the street claimed flooding can occur up to four times a year. Some even have sewage “bubbling” into their homes.

Flooding on Newhills Avenue in Bucksburn.
Flooding on Newhills Avenue on May 24. Image: Susan Bremner.

Why does the area flood?

While burst pipes occur often in the area, a burn running near the street and blocked drains also tend to cause flooding issues.

Ivor Stewart, who has lived on Middle Brae for 55 years,has complained to the council a few times about cleaning the burn and drains but blockages keep occurring.

“It’s been happening since the houses were built,” the 87-year-old said. “It’s not always been every year but the last one was pretty bad.

“A lassie further down has to open the back door of the house to let the water flowing through it out into the back garden.”

Many people’s gardens become covered in water with some even having it flowing through their homes.

Derek Ahern smiling in a wheelchair.
Derek Ahern gets sewage coming into his house. Image: Derek Ahern.

For Derek Ahern, 61, on Brimmondside, it is not just clean water that is an issue.

Situated 800 yards from the flooding zone, he said: “I’m in a wheelchair because I’m an amputee so even just getting about is a nightmare for me. When the road closes the buses stop so that’s a nightmare as well.

“But I’ve actually got a problem with living in my own house.”

‘My bathroom was black with mud and sludge and rubbish’

For the last three years, water and sewage have been coming into his home. One morning a few years ago, he woke up hearing a “bubbling noise”.

“It was garbage coming up from underneath my floor,” Mr Ahern said.

“I woke up in the morning and my lobby is covered in water and my wet room is covered in sewage.

“My bathroom was black with mud and sludge and rubbish. It’s horrendous.

“I’ve had the council out every year for the last three years. They don’t seem to fix anything.”

Sandbags outside resident's gardens on Middle Brae.
Sandbags down Middle Brae. Image: Lottie Hood/ DC Thomson.

Commenting on problems with the burn, Aberdeen City Council said a few incidents had been caused by a blockage to the trash screen.

They said they are now cleaning this regularly and a sign has been installed with an emergency number for residents to report any blockages.

Residents have also complained about an issue with obtaining sandbags from the council to help protect their properties.

A council spokeswoman added: “Sandbags are made available from council depots during extreme rainfall events.

“Residents in known areas of flooding are recommended to make their own arrangements to ensure they have a ready supply of sandbags.

“Affected residents may also be eligible for Property Level Protection.

‘I wish I’d never moved here’

Another Middle Brae resident, Susan Bremner, 54, has concerns about plans to build more housing in the area.

Despite plans for the controversial Greenferns Landward project being shelved for a few years, Ms Bremner said residents were concerned it would add further pressure to the water network.

“We’ve been objecting to them building because of the flooding that we get,” she said.

“I think the council need to do something or they need to chase up Scottish Water to do something about it. The system’s obviously not coping.”

The retired nurse said people no longer bother moving the sandbags.

She added: “They’re just waiting for the next flood.

“Between flooding and not having water sometimes… It’s ridiculous, it’s a joke.

“I wish I’d never moved here because it’s just one thing after another.”

The damage left by the recent flooding on Newhills Avenue.
Damage left by the burst water main on May 24. Image: Scott Baxter/ DC Thomson.

‘No feasible’ option to manage water network differently

Scottish Water apologised to customers for the most recent burst water main on Newhills Avenue.

A spokesman for the company said: “Initial investigations carried out last year focused on whether there are options to manage the water network in Bucksburn differently in order to reduce the risk of pipes bursting.

“Unfortunately, this work concluded that there are no feasible options that would reduce the risk of bursts without unacceptable impact on normal service to customers.

“Scottish Water faces a challenge maintaining and renewing infrastructure which is ageing, as well as responding to the impacts of climate change, but we aim to invest on a sustainable basis over the years ahead – prioritising the work that is most needed by our customers.”

They encouraged customers affected by flooding to report it by calling 0800 077 8778 to help them prioritise affected areas.