Dunball giants back to the Netherlands; first dredging on Somerset Levels started
After six weeks of continuously pumping the giant Dutch pumps at Dunball have been switched down, disassembled and transported back to the Netherlands.
The additional pumping capacity of the eight pumps of Dutch company Van Heck is no longer needed to relieve the Somerset Levels from its remaining floodwater.
Since mid-February Dutch pumps were deployed to the UK at the request of the Environment Agency that was confronted with the huge task to pump out an estimated volume of 65 million m3 of floodwater.
As water levels have receded now, most locations with mobile pumps have been disassembled. The regular pumping station will do the remaining work.
Van Heck had a total of 20 pumps operational at the locations of Dunball, Beer Wall and Huntworth.
Director Jeroen van Heck looks back on a very successful flood relief mission. "It has been an exceptional experience for our company. Upon arrival we could hardly wait to help the local people and start pumping. But the constructor had to prepare the locations first before we could get in with our heavy pumps. More time was lost due to strong winds. For days the operation to install the pumps was hampered as storm winds prevented us using high cranes", recalls Van Heck. It was his company's biggest pumping operation abroad ever.
Restrictions on flood damage repairs
According to director Jeroen van Heck the local water authorities had extensive knowledge of the local circumstances. He noticed that, compared to the Netherlands, the authorities were more restricted to act. "For instance, drainage authorities had no permission for emergency repairs of flood damage in the slope of a railway. Also the presence of certain protected animals restrict them to act. I believe in case of an emergency this would be unthinkable in the Netherlands", concludes Van Heck.
Van Heck specially wants to thank the local people for their support. “They brought warm food and drinks to the work site. It was very much appreciated!"
Now the water levels have receded, the Environment Agency started dredging on 31 March. The local community has strongly asked for dredging of the Parrett and Tone river.
The Environment Agency has committed to dredge 8 km of the rivers back to the 1960's profile. This is close to the point where both rivers confluence.
Furthermore preparations have been started for a permanent pumping station at Dunball. The construction of a planned tidal barrier (or sluice) on the mouth of the Parrett river will be accelerated, to be delivered by 2024. This will exclude the tidal effects on the river that now has an open connection to the sea.
Read more on this website
● Dunball giants: photo coverage of an amazing flood relief effort on Somerset Levels, 19 February 2014
● Van Heck gets spectacular line-up of Dutch pumps operational on Somerset Levels, 14 February 2014
● Major role for Dutch pumps in new relief effort flood ridden Somerset Levels, 12 February 2014
● Dutch pumps assist in massive operation to remove flood waters from Somerset Levels, 9 February 2014
● Dutch delegation to talk to British government about recent flood problems, 7 February 2014
● British media 'inundates' Holland in search for latest flood protection measures, 5 February 2014
Dredging begins on the River Parrett in Somerset
Van Heck Groep
Noordwolde, the Netherlands
+31 561 43 17 66