Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Could Reservoir Nightmare Happen Again?

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Could Reservoir Nightmare Happen Again?

Article excerpt

IN the end disaster was averted in Whaley Bridge - but one expert civil engineer says he fears it won't be the last crisis of its kind.

Dr Mohammad Heidarzadeh has urged the authorities to step up dam inspections and make them more rigorous.

Before its partial collapse, the Toddbrook reservoir dam was inspected twice in the last 12 months and yet no structural problems were found, even though footage from 2016 showed a tree growing through the concrete slipway.

But last week part of the spillway collapsed and more than 1,000 residents had to be evacuated from the town, amid fears the breached dam could crumble completely and send 1.3m tons of water crashing onto the town.

The collapse came following days of heavy rain, prompting a huge emergency response which included police, firefighters and the military all working to repair the damaged wall, with an RAF Chinook being used to dump about 500 tons of aggregate to shore it up.

The operation was a success and, after five nights away from their homes, some 1,000-plus residents were told it was safe to return on Wednesday. But there are many dammed reservoirs all around the north west and there are fears it could happen again.

The dam at Toddbrook is almost 200 years old and the average age of dams in the UK is 115 years.

What do you think? Beneath Dovestones reservoir is the village of Greenfield in Oldham, while there are communities in Stalybridge, Audenshaw, Denton and Bolton all below reservoirs which have dams. Parts of Lymm in Cheshire are also below large bodies of water.

Write to: Viewpoints, M.E.N, Mitchell House, Hollinwood Oldham, OL9 8EF Or email: viewpoints

We asked Dr Mohammad Heidarzadeh, assistant professor of civil engineering at Brunel University in London, whether what happened to Toddbrook reservoir could happen again in the UK.

"The answer is yes. …

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