Monday 19 August 2019

More evacuated as rain threatens to collapse dam

A military helicopter was used to drop sandbags into the dam. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A military helicopter was used to drop sandbags into the dam. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Dean Grey

Thunderstorms threaten to bring more unwanted rainfall to a Derbyshire town where a damaged dam is feared to be at risk of collapse and the threat to life remains "very high".

Dozens more homes were been evacuated in Whaley Bridge ahead of expected bad weather yesterday, as emergency workers continue their efforts to prevent the dam giving way. The threat to life in the town continues to be "very high", police said.

Water levels at the Toddbrook Reservoir have been reduced by just over three metres and pumps are continuing to remove water at a rate of around 10cm an hour, Derbyshire Police said.

More than 1,500 residents have been evacuated from the town since Thursday.

Police have warned the situation with the 180-year-old structure remains "critical".

Forecasters had warned of the potential for up to 40mm of rain to fall in just an hour or two yesterday afternoon.

Police said once emergency workers reach and maintain a level of water that allows engineers to look closely at the damage to the wall, a decision could be made on residents being able to return.

It had been suggested by deputy chief fire officer Gavin Tomlinson that people may be able to get back to their homes by the end of the week.

A Royal Air Force Chinook has dropped more than 400 sandbags, and around 150 firefighters have been using pumps to remove excess water from the reservoir.

The dam wall has been packed with 530 tonnes of aggregate which is being cemented into place to reinforce the structural integrity of the spillway, police said.

Irish Independent

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