A project is set to start this week to tackle flooding at a Hartlepool cemetery that saw graves submerged in water earlier this year.
Hartlepool Borough Council is starting work on a pilot project aimed at tackling flooding issues in the town’s Stranton Cemetery.
Flooding has been an ongoing issue at the site, but it reached its worst in March this year when heavy rain, following on from the largest snowfall in years, meant that parts of the cemetery – including a number of graves - were standing in water.
Since then, the council has carried out extensive surveys which have revealed that a naturally-occurring layer of clay up to 10 metres thick is preventing water draining into the ground.
Now a trial project over the next couple of weeks will see 100 vertical bore holes drilled deep into the ground to allow water to pass through the clay and drain naturally away.
The trial will be carried out in the most flood-prone section of the cemetery.
The bore holes will be drilled into the grassed area between the road inside the cemetery and the start of the graves area and council chiefs say they will not encroach onto the graves themselves.
Council bosses will then monitor the effectiveness of the trial over the winter.
To help people find out more about the scheme, a special drop-in event is being held on Thursday from 4pm to 6pm in the former Inspirations garden centre building beside the cemetery.
Alternatively, people can get more information by calling into the cemetery office during its normal office hours of 8am-4.30pm Mondays to Thursdays and 8am-4pm on Fridays.
Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “The flooding in the cemetery was very upsetting and I fully appreciate the very great distress felt by people with loved ones laid to rest there.
“Following the detailed surveys which we carried out over the summer, we very much hope that the new drainage which we are installing will bring a significant improvement.
“I would stress that the drainage will not encroach onto the graves themselves and I would like to thank people in advance for their patience and understanding while the work is being carried out.”