In an age of flooding, what can we do to protect ourselves?

With three major storms this year already, the dangers of flooding, is threatening long-term damage to buildings, infrastructure and life so how can we protect ourselves from floodwater whilst still living our normal lives?

One way is to ensure that our underground stormwater attenuation systems are large enough to ensure that it can capture rainwater and release it slowly, so it does not overflow our systems.

With floodwater plains now used for housing and other infrastructure, we need to build underground systems that cannot only manage the floodwater but can also be built upon, such as using heavyweight solutions like precast concrete storage solutions and pipe systems.

Allowing for greater capacity in the system, concrete pipe and tank systems have the ability to trap and treat surface water and storm water and store it before releasing it slowly back into the drainage system (or watercourse) when pressure on the system has reduced.

Using a smaller footprint area, precast pipes and tank systems can be buried in most areas on an infrastructure site without the worry of creating a SUDS (Sustainable Drainage System) area above ground, such as swales and ponds that may add to the complications of floodwater or become a danger to life, or attract unwanted wildlife, such as rats.

Where attenuation is not the answer, another option to protecting your property, either private or commercial, is to install floodwalls.

These can look decorative so when not needed can blend into their natural surroundings but also protect in times when water may rise to unusual levels such as seasonal or extreme weather. 

Take for instance concrete Redi-Rock flood walling which are double sided so are ideal where space is scarce, or when a wall is needed that looks great either side and will protect you from flooding and the damage that entails, whether that be your home or your place of work or the infrastructure of getting between the two.

With a 100-year design life, the Redi-Rock walling gives you that extra security when flooding hits.

For more information on attenuation systems please visit https://www.cpm-group.com/products/water-management/stormwater-management/attenuation/ and for more information on Redi-Rock walling systems please visit https://www.cpm-group.com/products/retaining-walls/

Can sea walls really protect us and still attract tourism?

As the British weather continues to challenge our natural defences, the government has looked at engineered methods of protecting buildings and the surrounding area from the worsening effects that Mother Nature throws at us.

One such way in which we look to protect ourselves from flooding is the introduction of sea walls, however this has proven controversial as the unsightly walls have become a battle ground between the local residents and the tourism industry.

So is there a way to keep everyone happy?

What is needed is a walling system that is designed to withstand a one in 100 year storm and yet still looks attractive to those who both live and visit the area. Traditionally sea walls have been made from boulders, steel, concrete, aluminum, fiberglass composite and in some cases gabions and have been designed to withstand varying physical forces as well as location specific aspects, such as local climate, coastal positioning, wave regime etc.

However, a range of environmental problems and issues have arisen, including disrupting sediment movement and transport patterns. Combined with construction costs, this has led to an increasing use of other coastal management options such as beach replenishment which has proven short term and not a long term solution.

One solution which the popular coastal town of Blackpool have invested in, is a sea wall for its marine frontage of approximately 11.25 kilometres, all of which is now protected from erosion by the sea wall. However this needs constant maintenance with Engineering Services being responsible for the maintenance and improvement of seven miles of coastal defences.

Under the Coastal Protection Act, Blackpool Council must ensure the stability of the sea walls and ensure their continuing maintenance, for which a detailed Coast Protection Strategy was adopted by the Council in 1995.

Blackpool Councils twenty year coastal defence strategy has rebuild those sections of defence most in need. The £62 million of works have also been completed transforming the promenade between the Sandcastle Centre and North Pier, and a new 3.2 kilometre concrete seawall has been built along the same stretch. This has been Blackpool’s largest ever civil engineering project to date and took four years to construct working from South to North.
Rhyl on the other hand have used a retaining wall concrete block system for their West Coastal Defence works. Conventional solutions such as cladded sheet piles were considered, though the cost of the sheet piles and the associated cladding made the scheme unviable.

The retaining wall was constructed using positive connection modular blocks which incorporated a geogrid reinforced earth system and was completed within just 30 weeks, with 50 blocks being installed over a tidal cycle. Close monitoring of the finished wall and backfill showed there had been no settlement and there is little to no maintenance required.

The Rhyl scheme has proven so popular with the local community and holiday makers that it has become the flagship scheme for the regeneration of Rhyl under the Welsh Government’s North Wales Coast Strategic Regeneration Area initiative.

So can a sea wall keep everyone happy?

Visit your local seaside towns and you decide

Why use concrete in flood risk areas?

Over the last few years, climate conditions have altered causing widespread flooding across the UK. Developers are now continually looking for solutions to ensure that the disruption caused by flooding is kept to a minimum where possible and concrete has become a real sustainable solution for many.

Not only are concrete products inherently resistant to uplift or floatation due to their weight during flooding and cases of rising groundwater but they are also resistant to the damage from the impact of hard objects carried during flooding and recent developments in product innovation has seen hydraulic features being incorporated into concrete systems such as flow control devices and silt traps etc.

A wide range of engineered concrete SuDS products have been developed that can provide off-site solutions to on-site situations that make life easier and protect against the climate.

For more information on water management precast solutions please visit https://www.cpm-group.com/products/water-management/