THE rain may have eased and the flooding subsided but Hampshire residents are being advised not to remove sandbags protecting their properties yet.

Groundwater levels remain high and have exceeded the levels recorded during the last major groundwater flooding in 2000.

Should Hampshire experience more storms or heavy rainfall, with groundwater already this high, further flooding is inevitable, and river levels will also rise again.

While high, groundwater levels are, in most of Hampshire, now stable. If conditions continue to improve and Hampshire experiences an average amount of rainfall over the next few weeks, then the following collection arrangements for sandbags will be put in place:

Sandbags at individual homes and businesses: Sandbags which have not come into contact with contaminated water will be able to  stored be for future use, emptied and dug into soil, or taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

Empty sand bags will be able to be placed in household bins for normal kerbside collections but not full sandbags because they are too heavy for the lifting equipment on refuse collection vehicles.   Up to 10 used sandbags may be taken to the HWRCs per household, and, on arrival, residents will be asked to tell staff so they can advise on where in the HWRC to take them.

The sand in the sandbags, even while not contaminated, is not suitable for children to play in or use in children’s sand pits.  Residents are being asked to take appropriate precautions when handling used sandbags, such as wearing protective gloves, and taking care when lifting.