Work to solve drainage and accessibility issues at Thornaby and Durham Road cemeteries is progressing well.
Recurrent flooding has previously occurred at both sites after spells of heavy rainfall and worsened by the natural deterioration of the existing drainage systems.
The ground slopes found at both cemeteries coupled with the need to minimise any impact of works on existing graves has led to Council officers exploring several design options, with solutions now being implemented by specialist teams using closely controlled techniques.
Drainage works have been underway at Thornaby cemetery for around two weeks alongside the laying of new walking path sections at the Durham Road site.
Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We’ve been keenly aware that wet weather has created unsatisfactory situations for residents and mourners at some of our cemeteries in the past with grave sites suffering from flooding and adversely affecting people visiting the graves of their loved ones.
“We’re committed to solving these issues and the team have been on site for the last few weeks working hard to carry out the improvement works that officers have carefully designed.
“At Thornaby cemetery, the team are installing underground drainage networks which will allow the water to dissipate from the areas around the graves and soak away naturally towards the south end of the site.
“Gullies have been cleared of debris and existing drainage is being flushed through as well to help future standing water drain away quicker.
“It’s important these works are completed before the winter weather arrives so families can visit the graves safely and easily.
“At Durham Road, remedial improvements to the drainage are being made which has been topped with new paving to create pathways allowing safe access for visitors to the graves.
“All being well the improvements at Thornaby should be complete in mid-October and we’ve programmed the completion of the Durham Road enhancements for next summer when the weather will be more favourable for the laying and settling of the paths.
“The next phase of the works involves installing a drainage system in a new area to the south of Thornaby cemetery which will be used in future years for burials to ensure we manage surface water and don’t encounter the same problems.
“Our officers are managing the works closely and, of course, we’re very sensitive to the proximity of the areas we’re improving being so close to graves and can reassure people that all of the works are being carried out with the utmost care and respect.”