On Wednesday 11th January the South Ferriby Plant was contacted by the Environment Agency warning of high tides and potential flooding of the Plant over the weekend. Jan Peters and the Team sprang into action.
Kevin Groombridge, Environmental Manager at the Plant, takes up the story: “This was the first time following the flooding of December 2013 that we had received a warning this serious. In response to the notification the Plant’s flood plan was initiated and meetings held to take appropriate actions.
The top priority was to preserve life of the people who would be on-shift at the time of the high tides followed by the protection of the Plant and tanker fleet.
It is not unusual for the Plant to be notified, several times a year, regarding high tides and possible flooding but this time the threat was a lot more real. Last week strong northerly winds and snow showers hit the UK. These conditions, along with high spring tides, were reminiscent of 2013 and could cause another surge tide down the River Humber.
The Environment Agency were concerned enough about South Ferriby village to deploy their shiny new flood barriers that they purchased at the end of 2016. The local parish council ensured that sand bags were available to residents and others fitted flood barriers in their gates and doorways.
The whole Plant Team also reacted brilliantly to the threat by getting involved in making the site flood resilient as much as possible. For example, around 10 tonnes of sand was bagged and placed to protect some floor level switch rooms and building entrances.
Overnight on the Friday, the site was fully shut down including the double rotators, all meal transportation, both kilns and the cement mills. People were relocated to the quarry including their cars, and all logistics lorries, Climafuel lorries and drivers cars were moved off-site.
The first risky tide was on the morning of Friday. The high tide came and went without a surge tide causing any flooding of either the Plant or the local village. We breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily there was no surge tide due to the strong winds dropping and there was no melt water from the snow for the rivers to deal with. But we weren’t in the clear yet…
The Environment Agency then announced that the evening tide on the Friday contained more of a risk for flooding so the Plant’s emergency plan was extended and the kilns remained down, whilst other areas of the Plant restarted only to be shut down again later in the day in preparation for the evening tide. We all held our breath… and again this tide came and went without incident.
On Saturday the flood risk was removed for South Ferriby village and the Plant and the Environment Agency removed the barrier. As of Monday 16th January all has returned to normal both within the Plant and the village.
A massive thank you and well done has to go to all those involved on-site in the flooding planning as thankfully this event went off without any incident.”