Look at the size of that! The 7-tonne Archimedes screws that protect us from flooding

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 20 May 2016

A CRUCIAL part of Grimsby's flood defences has been reinstalled after a refit.

One of the three seven-tonne Archimedes screws at Freshney pumping station was lowered into place by a crane.

Just one of the screws is capable of shifting 2,000 litres of water from the River Freshney into Alexandra Dock.

The pumping station is part of the flood defences for Grimsby which is enshrined in statute dating back to The Grimsby Haven Act of 1796.

Never, since the Freshney pumping station was built in the 1960s, have all three Archimedes screws been called into action simultaneously.

If one of the pumps can't cope a second kicks in.

Floods on the Willows in 2007. Picture: K Mawer.

Phil Christy, Grimsby dockmaster, recalled the floods of 2007 when the two of the pumps were last in action.

Mr Christy said: "It is an impressive bit of kit when it is running. It is simple and runs the same as a ship's propeller.

"It is over-engineering which is a testament to those who designed it, so that you can have one out for a repair without any risk."

He added: "We can get rid of the water quicker than it gets to us.

"The last time they were used it created a situation where The Barge (at Riverhead) was in danger of tipping over because the water level dropped so much."

The dockmaster said while there was flooding on The Willows, the levels at Riverhead were not as high.

He said: "It wasn't coming down the river quick enough."

Lee Boswell, engineering supervisor ABP said: "It is a crucial part of the town's flood defences."

He was pleased when a fish pass was installed over a year ago to allow fish, particularly sea trout and eels to access the river.

The installation was carried out by Swedish firm Axflow.

Flashback: Flooding along Great Coates Road, Grimsby, near to the Wybers Wood/Willows traffic lights, back in 2007.

Mark Redgrove, river support manager, said: "It is about making sure the Freshney does not overfill."

He told how the Archimedes steel screws were built by Allen Gwynnes Pumps of Bedford and weigh seven tonnes.

They are five metres long and 2.9 metres in diameter. The crane lift was operated by Hall Bros of Bridlington.

Chairman of Friends of Freshney, Keith Watkin said: "People used to be able to swim in the Freshney and row a boat, but the levels have been reduced so much.

"I want to know what impact it is going to have on the Freshney. We have never had reed beds as much as we do now. They are nearly across the river. That shows that it is fresh, but it has to be kept under control."

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