Cwmbach is a village near Aberdare in the county of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Cwmbach means “Little Valley” in Welsh (Cwm = valley, Bach = little). With an approximate population of 5,000, the area is mostly known for its substantial coal mining industry, Passing through Cwmbach, the Glamorganshire canal enabled traffic to pass north to south, so was ideally placed for coal mining and in 1837 the first deep pit was sunk at Abernant-y-Groes Colliery (later known as Cwmbach colliery). All coal was subsequently exported via the canal and train systems to Cardiff docks.
As the collieries expanded so did the village of Cwmbach. However, the closures of the pits (the final colliery Lletty Shenkin closed in 1922) resulted in high emigration and poverty. The location of the Cwmbach pit is today marked by a Rhondda Cynon Taf, (RCT) Heritage Trail plaque at the pit place.
In the 1950s however, a regeneration surge saw new social housing being built within the valley of Afon Cynon. Today, Cwmbach has two schools, two churches, two football clubs a small library a, police station and a small industrial estate between the Aberdare Canal and Afon Cynon.
Predominantly rural, parts of Ynys Cynon and Tirfounder Fields are defined as S.I.N.C. (Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation) and support a wide variety of birds, insects, and plants. Some notable examples are otter, mink, kingfisher, dipper, willow tit, bogbean, lesser water plantain, six dragonfly species and a variety of wading birds and summer migrants.
Cwmbach has a steep topography with higher elevations to the east. The Afon Cynon is the primary river bordering west. The Aberdare canal is the main river that runs through Cwmbach which flows parallel to the Afon Cynon and discharges into it just south of Cwmbach train station. The Southwest slopes are drained into the Aberdare Canal at notable points, the Northwest into the Afon Cynon in the adjacent community of Mountain Ash. (Further case study to follow).
A detailed Flood Risk Management Plan was set out by Rhondda Cynon Taf C.B.C in November 2015, highlighting all areas with low to medium to high risk. Notable high flood risk was at the conjunction of Cwymbach Road and Canal Road with concerns to properties adjacent to the highway at flood risk.
In June 2020, GreenBlue Urban was delighted to support the engineering team at Aecom Cardiff for the SuDS design to elevate flood risk to the area. It became apparent that the recently launched HydroPlanter modular rain garden system would be the perfect mitigation solution.
The “plug and play’ sustainable urban drainage solution can attenuate and cleanse stormwater and provide amenity and biodiversity to new and existing spaces. The modules will be filled with a particular soil specification and planted with wildflowers and biodiverse grasses.
The modular characteristics with pre-calculated hydrological performance statistics mean that specification and design is very simple for any given catchment area.
GreenBlue were pleased to support Scott Parnell with their winning tender to supply, 6, Starter and End modules, 18 continuation modules along supporting weir walls. Perforated pipe and RootRain Civic inlets T’s with downpipe. Drainage stone and of course our dedicated SuDS ArborSoil Hydro.
Installation took place in early 2021, being a new concept GreenBlue supported the installation team Calibre Contracting on site which we are pleased to see was a resounding success.
Jordan Coffey of RCT C.B.C states:
Installation went very smoothly as planned, the HydroPlanter units are working as expected and have increased the efficiency of overland conveyance flood routing. Overall RCT are very happy with the product and will continue to monitor its performance visually and of course, maintain it.This project has provided the residents of Cwmbach and surrounding areas with additional peace of mind and fully supports Rhondda Cynon Taf flood risk strategy, we are honoured to see Wales taking the lead on such innovative designs and look forward to working with all councils more so in the future!