BBA Mobile Emergency Pumps Provide Rapid Response for Floods
In its latest edition, the North American PUMPS & SYSTEMS magazine publishes an in-depth article featuring the history and current usage of emergency mobile pumps.
Netherlands’ Mobile Emergency Pumps Provide Rapid Flood Response
The Western European nation has 20 mobile diesel-driven pumps on standby, ready to assist in national and international emergencies.
One of the smallest and most densely populated countries in Western Europe, the Netherlands has nearly 10 million residents who live and work below sea level. Without active water management and primary flood defenses, the Netherlands’ lowest point would be up to 7 meters (23 feet) under water.
Local water authorities in each region that are responsible for water management and security have access to mobile pumps at times of high water - for example, following periods of heavy rainfall. The Departmental Coordination Center Crisis Control of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (DCC-IenM) has 20 mobile diesel-driven emergency pumps on standby, ready to assist in national and international emergencies.
Two Public Works and Water Management employees oversee the management, maintenance and use of these pumps, organized under the DCC’s authority and responsibility. The national deployment of these emergency pumps can be arranged in crisis situations by water authorities and via the DCC’s Public Works. For international deployment, the DCC typically receives requests through the Ministry of Foreign Aff airs or an embassy in the affected country.
This fleet of pumps is centrally located in the Netherlands and jointly accounts for a total pumping capacity of more than 80,000 cubic meters an hour (m3/hour), or about 352,000 gallons per minute (gpm).
In 1953 a catastrophic flood hit the Netherlands, claiming more than 1,800 lives and leaving large areas of the country’s southwest region submerged for some time. After repairs to the dikes, water from the flooded areas needed to be removed with mobile emergency pumps, but a limited number of pumps were available in the country.
A relief effort quickly started with aid coming from abroad, including a significant number of mobile pump sets of Worthington’s brand supplied to the Netherlands as part of a Marshall Plan aid package.
Following the 1953 flood disaster, plans were created to prevent another catastrophe, or at least to take adequate preparation measures. This led to the procurement of 100 high-capacity pumps that were produced and divided among the former Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (now Infrastructure and the Environment) and the water boards.