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Flood Control at IFAT Entsorga 2012: Better Protection Against Flooding

Entrance West (Copyright: Lukas Barth)

Pumps, fittings and the whole spectrum of products, systems and services for waste-water and sewage management have long been one of the core sections at the international environmental-technology trade fair IFAT Entsorga, which takes place from 7 to 11 May 2012 in Munich.

In 2008 a new section was added – on Coastal Protection and Flood Control – and this, too, has become a central theme at IFAT Entsorga, not least because of the increasing significance of this whole subject area.

It is predicted that serious flooding, of the kind that normally happens every 50 years, will in future occur every 25 years. That is one of the findings of a climate study presented in May this year by the insurance association Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft (GDV) together with researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Cologne. As a result, the insurers are expecting a drastic increase in claims resulting from river flooding and flash floods by the end of the century. The most pessimistic forecasts even envisage a tripling in the level of claims. The costs this will involve are illustrated by the impact of the floods on the Elbe and Danube in 2002. At that time the insurers paid out, according to the GDV, 1.8 billion euros to claimants. The damage to the economy was put at over eleven billion euros.

In order to reduce the impact of flooding, the insurance sector has put together a list of recommendations, one of which is to improve drainage systems. The German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA – Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall), too, emphasises the importance of proper flood planning for waste-water facilities. It points out that lower-lying areas could be put at risk when drains are flooded or blocked by obstacles swept along by the water. Many operators of drainage systems are reacting to the challenges of ever more frequent heavy rain and flooding by constructing storage basins, culverts to give extra retaining capacity, flood barriers and flood pumping stations.

Another risk is posed by flooded sewage works. If clearing basins overflow, untreated sewage can get into the main outfall, with unpredictable results for the environment. To prevent this, one operator – the water authority in Deggendorf, Germany – is currently building a new 2.4-kilometer dam around its sewage works in Straubing by River Danube. On this section of the river, there is flooding almost every year. The existing dam has only one opening in it, for an access road, and part of the project involves securing this weak point with an aluminium dam gate which can be closed when flooding threatens. Costing around nine million euros, the project is scheduled for completion in autumn 2012.

Apart from the environment, it’s also important to protect the material investment in waste-water facilities, i.e. the technology and the building structures, against the floods. For example, in August 2010, in the Oberlausitz region of eastern Germany, exceptionally high water on the rivers destroyed two sewage works managed by the Süd-Oberlausitzer Wasserversorgungs- und Abwasserentsorgungsgesellschaft mbH. One of them is not even being rebuilt, the sewage previously treated there is to be processed at another works. The second of the two affected sewage works, in Zittau, suffered damage amounting to 13 million euros. For this facility, plans are currently being drawn up to improve flood protection. These include design changes, such as fitting the electrical and control systems higher up, out of reach of the waters, and new technical solutions such as purchasing new pumping technology that can cope with being flooded, without suffering damage.

For the first time at IFAT Entsorga, Messe München will be organising a joint stand on Coastal Protection and Flood Control . Companies interested in exhibiting at this stand can request further information and application forms directly from IFAT Entsorga.

Picture: Entrance West (Copyright: Lukas Barth)

Source: IFAT Entsorga

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