Safety of local earth-filled dams at reservoirs

Date published: 16 August 2019

Following the evacuation of a town in Derbyshire earlier this month after concerns about the potential collapse of a dam wall, Rochdale Online asked United Utilities about the safety of our local reservoirs, constructed in a similar manner.

At the beginning of August, residents in Whaley Bridge were evacuated after the overflow spillway for the earth-filled Toddbrook Reservoir was damaged after heavy rain.

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “We have a number of reservoirs in the Rochdale area constructed with earth-filled dams and their structural safety is very closely monitored and regulated.

“Residents living near to these reservoirs can be reassured that there is no cause for concern.

“Our experienced site teams visually inspect these dams once every 48 hours and every six months our dams are given a thorough safety inspection by our civil engineers.  Every ten years our dams are independently checked by government appointed senior engineers and we undertake any management or maintenance work that may be required.

“We have led the industry by using a reservoir risk tool for the last ten years. It exceeds legal requirements and identifies issues well in advance, so they are resolved before they become a problem.”

United Utilities has confirmed the following reservoirs in the Rochdale borough are built with earth-filled dams:

  • Ashworth Moor
  • Blackstone Edge
  • Chelburn Upper
  • Greenbooth
  • Hanging Lees
  • Hollingworth Lake
  • Kitcliffe
  • Naden Higher
  • Naden Middle
  • Norman Hill
  • Ogden Milnrow
  • Piethorne
  • Rooden
  • Springmill (Rochdale/Rossendale boundary)
  • Warland (Rochdale/Calderdale boundary)
  • Watergrove

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