"The future of pumping stations is here – it came from Holland"
02 September 2021
NZ Local Government Magazine is a monthly magazine covering the news, the people, the trends and current concerns of local government in New Zealand. In its latest edition, the NZ Local Government Magazine publishes an in-depth article featuring the history and current usage of flood control emergency mobile pumps.
Thank you to NZ Local Government Magazine and our distribution partner Prime Pump for sharing this story.
The future of pumping stations is here – it came from HollandHolland has been leading the world in dewatering for around 1000 years. In fact, they’ve had very little choice.
The Netherlands includes 451 kilometres of coastline along the North Sea and is situated in the delta of three major European rivers, the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt. The 1320 kilometre Rhine alone has as average discharge of 2900 cubic metres per second.
With one third of the densely-populated country below sea level, and with the water line just a few feet beneath the ground surface, floods are a constant risk. Successful, innovative, and reliable water management is not just a priority, it’s a daily necessity.
When devastating floods swept through western Europe in July this year, claiming over 200 lives, the Netherlands escaped much of the devastation wreaked on their neighbours Germany and Belgium, largely because of their level of preparedness and the country’s exceptional flood defences.
Scientists and researchers were stunned by the damage to other technologically advanced nations and Holland was held up as a positive example.
That’s not to say it’s come without a cost. Over the years, Holland has experienced its own flooding disasters. The most recent was back in 1953 when a massive storm surge hit that also impacted England, Belgium and Germany. In Holland it killed 1800 people. However, from the country’s response to the unrelenting challenges has come an inter-generational exchange of knowledge and a specialisation that is unmatched by any other country in the world.
An example of that distillation of experience, expertise and technology can be found in the dewatering genius of Dutch designed and manufactured BBA Pumps.
The Apeldoorn-based, family-owned company has specialised in mobile pumps for over 60 years and that commitment shows in excellence of performance, the pumps’ superior fitness for purpose, and lowest cost of life ownership, the latter a particular focus for both BBA and Prime Pump.
Prime Pump managing director Allen Petrie says the company searches the globe for the best pumps for specific tasks.
“BBA is aligned with our company’s values including trust and reliability. Their pumps really stood out and they have subsequently excelled in even the most demanding local situations and extreme weather events.”
More than 200 BBA Pumps have been deployed around New Zealand; used in major civil projects along with vital flood and earthquake response missions. The latter included a dramatic military airlift of BBA pumps from frigates based off the coast after the Kaikoura earthquakes. The pumps’ relative compactness and light weight making them easy to transport; an imperative in such challenging conditions.
Most recently, however, the pumps have also been involved in pro-active flood protection and mitigation providing a viable alternative to very costly to build and costly to run pumping stations. It’s a step change which Prime Pump general manager Glenn Powell says has the potential to save councils hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As we know, floods are some of New Zealand’s most frequent and most damaging natural disasters.
“BBAs are specifically designed to extract water quickly and effectively from low lying land and they’ve certainly proved their worth.
“Because the pumps are semi-permanent, or mobile, they can be set up in days, rather than being a year-long project that also involves a lot design and planning. The BBAs are an absolutely massive advantage.”
Glenn says because the pumps are not reliant on electrically generated power, deployment in remote or difficult-to-access areas is relatively simple. There are also electrically driven options available if sites are in areas where the power network is close by and easy to access.
“The BBAs bring a totally different approach; one that’s more responsive, less capex-heavy, and that has the potential to re-set this whole area of water management with less reliance on creating and maintaining permanent infrastructure. Long term there’s got to be another significant pay-off there.”
BBA’s powerful and extensive range of diesel-powered flood control pumps feature nearly indestructible galvanized canopies with composite doors. These can easily withstand decades of the toughest conditions nature can throw at them.
That’s backed by powerful capacity.
The high volume pumps have performance curves up to 7800 cubic metres an hour and quickly prime and re-prime via a built-in vacuum assisted system.
BBA’s commitment to “working with nature” means the pumps are fully bunded, avoiding any possibility of fuel or oil contaminants entering the water flow.
For this reason, they’ve been the choice for major New Zealand civil infrastructure projects that combined the need for efficiency with elevated levels of environmental responsibility and public scrutiny.
These have included the successful Moa Point sewer interceptor overpump. The high-profile site is situated right next to Lyall Bay with busy Wellington International Airport adjacent, and the entire project was overlooked by a very engaged residential community.
The six eight inch BBA BA180 auto prime dewatering and sewer bypass pumps selected for the job each ran for 4 weeks, pumping a combined total of 928,800,000 litres of wastewater without a hitch.
BBA Pumps were also used for a sewer upgrade along the shores of Queenstown’s iconic, selfie-friendly Lake Wakatipu. The pumps were backed by a sophisticated monitoring system, provided by Prime Pump, which fed data directly to the council’s system.
On another major civil project BBA pumps were relied on to help protect ecologically- sensitive nearby streams and their threated native fish species from harm; a requirement of the consents and one which was closely monitored.
Often called on to work very close to built-up areas in Holland, “super silenced” has been a BBA standard for decades, eliminating nuisance for workers and noise pollution for surrounding residents and businesses.
This has local anecdotal support. One New Zealand contractor reported to Prime Pump that he had to put his ear up close to the pump to check it was still running.
Another quantifiable benefit to BBA Pumps comes from the Netherland’s relatively high cost of fuel due to high energy taxes. This is factored into the BBAs’ engineering with the result that the pumps’ exceptional efficiency reduces fuel consumption to an absolute minimum.
The BBA range is available from Prime Pump for purchase or hire and is backed by Prime Pumps’ experienced staff.