A huge tidal surge burst the banks of The Humber Estuary and caused substantial flooding throughout the village of South Ferriby including the Cemex Cement Works. A mini tsunami approximately 6' high raced through the plant causing damage to vehicles and buildings. A&A had already been deployed on the North Bank of the Humber at another of our clients premises and were working 24 hour shifts cleaning up major flood damage. Once we received the call from our client, a site meeting was arranged. We were tasked with the major contamination cleaning of the sites 43 electrical switch rooms. Power to the works had been completely shut down and water supply to the site had been cut off.
Within 24 hours, the initial working party of 6 men and 2 tanker jetters was increased to 20 site operatives, 6 tanker jetters and a van pack jetter. Generators and portable lighting were also brought to site. Teams worked during the hours of daylight to remove considerable deposits of estuarial silts from the switch rooms. These works were carried out under a strict Health and Safety regime as the size of the site, lack of lighting and unseen underfoot hazards were numerous to say the least. A&A's remit was to remove heavy contamination from the electrical switch rooms, pump houses, elevator runs and vast floor areas within the factory buildings. The main priority was to allow the 'fine cleaning crews' from Belfor to gain access to the electrical switch rooms and affected machinery so that they could install air driers and ultimately carry out detailed cleaning and assessment of intricate electrical systems. The works required operatives to carry out confined space entries, high pressure water jetting, working at heights and tankering. Operations were carried out in difficult and arduous conditions due to the lack of lighting within buildings and the sheer size of the cement works. All works were carried out under permits and a 'lock out' system. Because of the versatility of the A&A equipment, especially the deep suction tanker jetters, A&A were able to work on remote areas of the site bringing in and storing water to ensure that the cleaning and washing down operations were not interrupted due to the lack of water on site. Deep chambers including lift shafts and elevator pits were emptied of flood waters using the deep suction tankers which were able to deal with the heavy silts and water where normal pumps were ineffective.
Despite the hazardous working conditions, by working under controlled Health and Safety Management, we had no reportable incidents during the course of the operation. In December 2013, the works were successfully completed to the full satisfaction of our client.