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Jackson oversees scheme to automate Flood Storage Reservoir sites

Jackson Civil Engineering has completed work for the Environment Agency to fully automate four flood storage reservoir sites, increasing the level of protection to nearly 2,000 homes in Lincoln.

Working with specialist supply chain partners, Jackson oversaw the replacement of the Motor Control Centres (MCC) at the sites, which are based on the rivers Till, Witham and Brant, upstream of the county town.

The MCCs are linked to flood measuring instruments on the rivers, and automatically operate flood gates and direct water into flood storage reservoirs if water levels get too high. All sites are connected via an internet-based wide-area network that gives an overview of the water levels across all four locations.

“This allows the system to be monitored and controlled remotely by the Environment Agency’s flood incident staff and provides a holistic view, allowing water levels to be balanced across the local area,” said Darren Blank, project manager for the scheme.

Rock rolls

The new system will reduce the number of staff required on each site whenever the washlands are used during periods of heavy rainfall.

Flood gates

To increase operational resilience more than 30 individual flood measuring instruments were installed across the four sites while all associated underground services were replaced and security and lighting enhanced.

Three out of four sites have been equipped with permanent standby power generation while Jackson also oversaw the complete refurbishment of the existing flood gate infrastructure on two sites.

This involved the removal and repair of eight flood gates using a 200-tonne crane. The works were undertaken a gate at a time in series to ensure the standard of existing flood protection was maintained during the re-fit.

Remote testing

When it came to testing the software that controls the MCCs, COVID 19 social distancing regulations were in force, so a virtual test was developed to enable the system to be fully tested remotely using scenario-based functions.

Darren added: “This process has been so successful that Jackson intend to use the procedure moving forward. Even though it was born out of necessity and safety, it provides a calculable value in terms of carbon footprint and efficiencies, which can benefit clients in normal times post-pandemic.”