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Toddbrook Reservoir Emergency Requires Rapid Response by SLD Pumps & Power

A rapid emergency response by specialist hire company SLD Pumps & Power helped save lives, property and the local aquatic ecosystem after the recent partial collapse of Toddbrook Reservoir dam in the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge. SLD Pumps & Power is a trading division of Carrier Rental Systems UK Ltd, part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

As part of the effort to reduce reservoir water levels to avert a potential catastrophic failure of the dam, SLD initially deployed 17 of its high capacity pumps and related equipment. As the emergency continued, at short notice the company deployed 1MW of mobile generators, five large submersible pumps, Variable Speed Drives (VSDs), and 500m of 12in HP Hose, plus accessories to deal with variable deployment areas.

Richard Broughton, SLD’s national contracts manager, who led the project, said: “I received the emergency call at 3.00pm that the dam was in danger of failing and water levels had to be quickly reduced. By 4.30pm we had the equipment on site ready to go.”

He added: “Given the imminent threat to life, it was one of the most important and high-pressure projects we have been involved with. The Environment Agency issued an evacuation order for the endangered area; however not all residents would leave their homes. It required a huge team effort on the part of everyone involved.”

SLD worked alongside Kier Construction, CRT, the Fire Brigade and the British Army in a multi-agency response. Shortly after the initial deployment, in view of the continuing vulnerability of the dam support wall, the water authorities called for further pumping capacity on site. SLD worked with its supply chain to source the additional pumps, connection hoses and power generators, with equipment transported from Newcastle, Manchester and Nottingham.

The emergency plan required water levels in the reservoir to be reduced at a rate of 1.1 cubic metres per second; with the combined efforts of SLD and other operators, the rate of removal actually achieved was 11 cubic metres per second. After four days, the pumping operation removed an estimated 1.27 billion litres of water, reducing pressure on the dam and helping to avoid a potential disaster.

“The rapid reduction of water levels caused a secondary problem,” says Richard Broughton, “as a result of the concentration of fish in the ever-smaller volume of water. Oxygen levels were quickly depleted and threatened fish stocks. We were asked to provide aeration equipment to maintain oxygen levels in the water to protect the estimated eight tonnes of fish and the rest of the aquatic ecosystem.”

SLD provided the necessary aeration equipment, with engineers remaining on site round-the-clock until water levels were reduced to the target level, and the emergency was fully contained.

For more details on SLD emergency pumping services visit: