LETTER: We pumped 200m litres of water

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Wyberton Marsh Pumping Station is one of Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board’s 34 pumping stations with this one situated on the southern banks of the Boston Haven on the edge of the Wash estuary.

Following the exceptionally high tide and unusual weather conditions on the evening of the 5th defence the pumping station was called into full emergency action later that evening.

Over the next two days the three high volume pumps within the pumping station, capable of pumping a huge 2,800 litres per second when all three are running, have been pumping nonstop.

At one stage the high volumes of sea water coming through the sea defence breach and flowing towards the pumping station were too great and additional 300mm and 150mm diameter mobile pumps were set up to assist with the pumping, with all the water being pumped back directly into the Haven. This resulted in close to 200 million litres of sea water being pumped back into the Haven throughout Thursday and Friday.

Men and equipment from adjacent boards were used at the pumping station and throughout the catchment, clearing obstructions to allow the uninterrupted free flow of water to the pumping station.

The pumping station has very recently had further flood defence resilience works carried out whereby the electric pumps and control panels were lifted and three 900mm diameter non-return valves fitted within the outfall pipes. BSIDB engineers are convinced the non return valves saved the pumps from being swamped by the exceptionally high tide.

BSIDB staff and workforce worked around the clock throughout the event until a time the breach was temporarily secured, stopping further sea water flowing through into the catchment.

This operation was only able to be completed by the use of a Merlin helicopter overhead whilst one tonne sand bags were position during Friday evening. A multi-agency partnership organised, controlled and managed these works which in turn safeguarded the Wyberton catchment from further and prolonged flood damage.

Ian Warsap

Chief executive BSIDB