Solutions are being sought to help safeguard homes under threat from flooding due to a deteriorating drain in Foxearth.
The culvert, which runs underneath a number of homes in the village, including those in Mill Road and School Street, has become an increasing problem over the last decade. It is often partially blocked as parts of the Victorian-built structure start to collapse and tree roots take over.
Clive Waite, chairman of Foxearth Parish Council, said a meeting with Essex County Council had been held in order to come up with a solution.
“The culvert is about 150 years old and is in a bad state,” he said.
“It is deteriorating to a point where it is really not functioning as it should.”
Mr Waite said that, since 2000, there had been three serious floods in the village, with at least three homes affected and others at risk.
A detailed survey of the drain has recently been carried out using camera footage and work to replace the culvert has been estimated at £1million.
“This is a major issue, and there is no quick-fix,” said Mr Waite. “We have discussed some short-term solutions, but it is in such a fragile state that there is no saying what will happen the next time a large amount of water goes through.”
It is feared that using a high-powered jet to clear the debris could bring the drain crashing down.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that the water course runs beneath residents’ homes which, because of its age, makes homeowners responsible.
“We are waiting for the county council to come back with a solution, then find out how it can be paid for,” said Mr Waite.
“The biggest concern is future flooding, which is distressing for those affected.”
A county council spokesman said minor repairs were due to be completed soon while the findings of the survey were assessed.