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Fri December 01 2023

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Barhale wins Downham Market flood defence works

27 Aug 19 Civil engineering contractor Barhale has been appointed to upgrade flood defences in Downham Market, Norfolk.

The contract, awarded by Downham & Stow Bardolph Internal Drainage Board, is expected to reduce the risk of flooding for 450 homes in the area and will help to protect 3,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Works include the installation of an automated pumping station to pump water from the Cuckoo Drain, which runs roughly one metre below mean sea level up to the tidal reaches of the River Great Ouse where high tide levels are typically around four metres above mean sea level.

Barhale will also install 275 metres of twin 800mm pumping main, a new outfall structure and associated control buildings and sub stations.

The new facility will replace an existing arrangement which combines the use of a 1970s electrical pump with an older, manually-operated diesel pump dating from the 1950s. During periods of flood warnings this 1950s pump requires manning; this normally occurs six times a year.

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Barhale general manager Keven Stobbs said: “This will be a big step forward for flood protection around Downham Market. Upon completion, the client will have a fully automated pumping facility, monitored remotely and will benefit from not having to mobilise resources to man the station when unplanned flood warnings are issued. And local residents and business will have the peace of mind that the risk of flooding in the area has been significantly lowered.”

The project will make extensive use of MoPVC (molecular oriented PVC) for the pipelines. “It is a lighter pipe meaning it is easier to lay, has lower transport costs and a lower carbon transport footprint,” Keven Stobbs explained. “It can be laid on a prepared bed delivering savings in the aggregate requirement – and again a lower carbon footprint from production and delivery. Installation also requires less excavation – so we can get it in the ground more quickly and there is less spoil to manage.”

Following the installation of the new facility, the 1950s pumping station will be demolished, but the 1970s electrical pumps will be retained as a back-up system.

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