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Temporary pumps help Gatwick Airport complete run-off pond project

A temporary pumping solution helped Gatwick Airport manage run-off water from its runway during an upgrade project to prevent flooding on the nearby River Mole in East Sussex.

Sykes Pumps provided six pumps for the project, which involved stabilisation works on the banks of the River Mole to prevent the breaching of the embankment of one Gatwick Airport’s run off water ponds, Gatwick Pond E.

The pond collects run off water from the runway at Gatwick, which is released into the River Mole downstream. Variable flow rates in the river can be caused by periods of wet weather or increased outputs from Crawley Water Recycling Centre, which is located upstream, and these can prompt the river to spill into the pond, creating a potential flood risk.

To overcome that risk, Gatwick Airport commissioned improvement works to the River Mole in the Gatwick Pond E area, ensuring that the river can hold variable volumes of water at that point in its flow.

Civil engineering specialist, Suttle Projects, was contracted to dig out the river bed on either side of the relevant section of river and lay reno mattresses and gabion baskets with stone infill to prevent further scour of the river bed or embankment.

To carry out these works, the company needed an over pumping solution that could reliably keep the work area dry enough for safety and integrity of the installation throughout the programme, despite the variable flow rates typical of the location.

Initially, Sykes Pumps supplied three 12” Super Wispaset 300 Super Silenced Pumps, in line with Suttle Projects’ specification. Two of these diesel pumps were used as duty pumps to over pump the water between two sandbagged dams to a discharge point downstream, with a third on site as a standby. However, increased flow rates meant that the Suttle team needed to use the third pump as a duty pump, so Sykes Pumps delivered an additional Super Wispaset 300 to site, along with a GP80 3” diesel pump and a Super Wispaset 100 4” pump, which were used to address any water seeping through the dam at each end of the work area.

John Harley from Suttle Projects said: “We were able to vary the flow rate from the pumps through manual monitoring of water levels throughout the scheme and it became apparent within the first week that two duty pumps would not be sufficient most of the time. Sykes Pumps had the additional kit on site within 24 hours, along with the pipework and fittings required to increase the over pumping infrastructure and ensure a safe working environment for our team.”

Along with the pumps, Sykes Pumps also supplied two fuel tanks to ensure the pumps remained operational throughout the scheme and more than 300m of wire armoured and steel 12” pipework to carry the water from the pump site to the discharge location.  The company also carried out fortnightly servicing of all equipment to ensure it was running at optimum efficiency at all times.

Originally scheduled as a six-week programme, the project was completed in just five weeks.

John Harley adds: “Thanks to the efficiency of the over pumping operation we were able to make excellent progress with the excavations and stabilisation works which will help to keep Gatwick flood free while protecting the natural waterways in the area.”

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Pumps & Pumping Systems
Tags: pumps , flood risk

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