Xylem supports Whaley Bridge dam operation21 August 2019

(L-R) Simon Flevill (service engineer/driver) and Ian Turner (supervisor service) with the diesel pumps draining water out of Toddbrook

The UK and Ireland managing director of global water technology company Xylem has said that he is “proud” of his team following their involvement in preventing the collapse of a damaged dam wall above the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire.

Earlier this month, engineers, emergency services and the RAF were called in to help deal with the emergency reservoir situation, which saw local residents evacuated from their homes.

Xylem Water Solutions UK, which worked with SLD Construction and Kier, the main contractor for the Canal and River Trust (CRT), provided pumps to drain water from the reservoir.

UK and Ireland MD Jason Howlett said: "I am very proud of our team that supported Kier and its supply chain and undertook gruelling work in a high-pressure situation. It was a great relief to see their efforts rewarded with a rapid drain of water to secure the dam wall and ensure the safety of local residents.

“We are extremely grateful to the Whaley Bridge community for looking after the crews and providing sandwiches and refreshments to keep them going."

The water technology company deployed five 55 kW 2250 Flygt submersible dewatering pumps to draw water out of the reservoir at a rate of 250 litres per second. Within a week, the water levels had been reduced by more than 10 metres and the town's 1,500 residents were allowed to return to their homes.

In total seven engineers from Xylem worked on site – often around the clock – from the beginning of the emergency on 1 August. As well as installing the submersible pumps, the team set up six large diesel pumps and numerous smaller pumps. Then, as the water receded, they extended the cables and moved the pumps further into the reservoir basin.

In addition, they provided aeration units and two 150ml diesel pumps with spray bars to help oxygenate the water so the resident fish could survive in the lower level of water.

Steve Simmons, area service manager for the North West, who led the Xylem operation, adds: "This was a massive coordinated operation involving hundreds of emergency services workers and subcontractors. My team was working on the dam wall side of the reservoir, which presented some unique challenges, including a very narrow access road. At times the site was chaotic, but everyone worked together, remained calm, kept everything safe and focused on getting the job done."

Adam Offord

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