Race against time to pump water from reservoir at Whaley Bridge

Extra pumps brought in ahead of weather warning for heavy rain tomorrow

Fire crews from Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service have worked throughout the night alongside crews from across the UK in a race against time to pump water from the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir to save Whaley Bridge from flooding.

Seven new 12 inch pumps have been put into action with a further five being deployed today - all in addition to the 10 high volume pumps already on site.

These are pumping five tonnes of water per minute out of the reservoir and into the River Goyt.

Efforts to save the dam from bursting and flooding Whaley Bridge below are in full flow with forecasts for heavy rain and possible flooding across the north for tomorrow.

Speaking this morning, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gavin Tomlinson said: “Crews and all agencies have been working extremely hard through the night to put in place seven large 12 inch pumps which are now pumping approximately five tonnes of water per minute, out of the reservoir and into the River Goyt.  Another five of these 12 inch pumps will be constructed throughout the day and will contribute to the lowering of the water level in the reservoir.

PIPE LINE: Heavy duty pipes have been brought in to help pump the water out of the reservoir.

“Once all of the 12 inch pumps are in place, we will look to relocate the 10 high volume pumps that have been on site since yesterday, to ensure we have the most effective system in place for reducing the water level as quickly and safely as possible. 

Speaking of the forecast for heavy rain on Sunday, he said: “We are hoping the weather will be kind to us, but everyone is working as hard as possible to get ahead of the curve and remove as much water as possible today, overnight and into tomorrow, to minimise the impact of any bad weather that does materialise.

“Our aim remains the same.  All agencies are working to prevent any more water entering the reservoir and working around the clock to reduce the water level in the reservoir in a controlled manner – the more we reduce the water level, the more we reduce the risk of something happening.

BACK IN ACTION: The Chinook helicopter is dropping more bags of ballast at the dam to help shore it up.

“All agencies are also working as hard as they can to ensure the dam wall retains its structural integrity.  The chinook helicopter will be back up and dropping bags of ballast onto the damaged area today and we have specialist contractors putting concrete grouting in and around the bags of ballast to bind them together and give them some stability.

“This is a totally unique incident which has brought together not only emergency services and partners from across the UK, but it’s also been supported by a superb army of volunteers.  Overnight they have kept all the workers fed, watered and more importantly, helped to keep morale and spirits high.  A huge thank you must be extended to everyone.

“Of course we cannot forget the community of Whaley Bridge.  The people whose homes, businesses and community we are working to protect.  After a hasty evacuation they have been incredibly resilient, coming together to support each other at an incredibly stressful and emotional time.  We continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure plans are in place to allow controlled access to their homes, to allow the collection of essential items and to attend to any pets that may have been left in the haste of the evacuation. 

“We will continue to work closely with the Whaley Bridge community and are committed to keeping them as well informed of the progress of the incident as possible.”

 

PRAISE: Derbyshire Deputy Chief Fire Officer has praised the work or all emergency services and partners who have been working overnight again at Whaley Bridge and praised the support of an army of volunteers who have kept everyone fed, watered and in high spirits.

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