Whaley Bridge residents were evacuated from parts of the town on 1st August 2019 after the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir was found to be leaking. As the dam failure got slowly worse, emergency services set about emptying the dam to prevent catastrophic collapse and destruction in town.
From the first day, 55 employees from Kier and its supply chain were among those on the scene at Whaley Bridge, aiding the Canal & River Trust with its rescue and providing vital supplies. They worked around the clock, working alongside the Trust, emergency services and RAF.
By 6th August, water levels had been reduced by 10.7 metres, resulting in the situation being declared safe and residents allowed back home.
But although Kier has completed initial works to stabilise the dam, it continues to work on increasing the reservoir’s resilience to further adverse weather.
The Kier team installed eleven 12-inch submersible pumps and more than a kilometre of associated piping. They also removed three weirs, provided 700 tonnes of stone for the RAF to drop from a Chinook helicopter and 400 tonnes of grouting. Additionally, they installed several roadways and access points.
The emergency scheme was led by Eddie Quinn, director at Kier Regional Civils, who said: “The situation at Whaley Bridge was tense and at sometimes dangerous. I’m very proud of our team and supply chain for quickly coming together to help the Canal & River Trust and residents in the area. Working together, we quickly got the first water pumps into service and have been able to pump water out of the reservoir quickly.
“Reacting quickly has highlighted our ability to support our clients in their times of need, utilising our expertise regardless of the timing or breadth of project. It has been heart-warming to see the various organisations, as well as the local community come together during this time and we’re so pleased that residents are able to get back into their houses.”
Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust chief executive, said: “We would like to thank Kier and its supply chain who have reacted very quickly to this emergency and worked tirelessly since last Thursday to reduce water levels and stabilise the dam.”