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Tests from microbiologists from the University of Reading have found flood waters which contain 60 times the amount of safe bacteria for agricultural water. The water from Moorland in Somerset contained 60,000 to 70,000 bacteria per 100 millilitres.
According to the World Health Organisation agricultural water should have no more than 1,000 bacteria per 100 millilitres. Microbiologist Nathaniel Storey, who carried out the research, said the results were not unexpected given the extent of the flooding.
He said: 'It's perhaps unsurprising considering there's septic tanks in these people's gardens that are overflowing and animals within close proximity. Therefore all this excrement that's in these areas is being dredged up by the floodwater and taken into houses and into gardens.'
The research was commissioned by Sky News.
Water pumps have have been at work all morning to remove flooding from Paddock Wood in Kent. Although no homes were flooded overnight, residents say it's the ninth time since New Year's Day that parts of the town have flooded.
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery will visit the village of Hambledon this afternoon as it continues to be affected by flooding. Sandbag walls had to be raised in parts of the village yesterday after more than an inch of rain fell in 12 hours. A meeting will take place later for concerned residents.
The plight of a flood-hit village in Hampshire will be raised with an Environment Minister at a meeting in London on Monday as part of COBRA (Emergency Cabinet Office meeting). Nearly 140 properties in Hambledon are under threat from flood waters after record rainfall throughout January.
Sand bag walls are in a 'precarious position' according to a report today from the Hambledon Flood Action Group, after an inch of rain fell in a 12 hour period from yesterday lunchtime. Three roads - East and West St and part of Green Lane - were closed earlier this week.
The group's chairman Tony Higham said in the report: 'A number of properties are in an extremely fragile state - and others already flooded. Much work by the various services is required on the road - sandbagging, pumping and responding to calls.'
There are nearly 200 flood warnings and alerts in the Meridian region after heavy rain yesterday and overnight. Currently there are 40 flood warnings where flooding is expected and 144 flood alerts where flooding is possible.