A flood alleviation scheme is being implemented in Mallow in order to reduce the risk of flooding from the Blackwater River.
The Munster Blackwater (Mallow South and West) Drainage Scheme will introduce a number of flood defence measures to the area, including the construction of pumping stations, defence walls and embankments, along with upgrades to the current drainage systems. Control structures are also being constructed on tributary streams in order to reduce the risk of flooding.
Mallow is situated in North Cork and is a busy commuter town at the crossing point of a number of major routes in the Munster region. The Blackwater River cuts straight through the town, and due to the profile of its floodplain, the town is historically prone to flooding.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has worked with Cork County Council and Mallow Town Council since 2002 to introduce a flood protection scheme and flood warning system in the area. In 2004, Arup, the scheme’s designers, identified three geographical locations for flood defence mechanisms and these areas were then divided into two phases.
Munster Blackwater (Mallow North) was the first phase. Now complete, the phase has already defended the town from the threat of heavy flooding during a significant flood event in November 2009.
The second phase began in September 2010 and has combined the south and west areas of Mallow to form the Munster Blackwater (Mallow South and West) phase. This phase was originally scheduled for completion in January 2012 however this date has now been pushed back to June 2012 due to a number of delays, including the discovery of a number of archaeological findings.
The project has a contract value €6.1 million and has been funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) for the Irish Government under a National Development Plan (2007 to 2013). The project is currently 60% complete.
One of the notable features of the scheme is a large clay embankment located in the west of Mallow which is now almost complete. The robust embankment measures approximately 800 metres in length, 5 metres in height, 40 metres in width and consists of 46,000 cubic metres of material.
Main contractor for the Munster Blackwater (Mallow South and West) project is BAM Civil Ltd.
Arup’s Resident Engineer on behalf of the Office of Public Works, Feargal O’Sullivan, said:
“Due to the nature of implementing a scheme within a town environment, we are constantly interfacing with the public. This means we have to consider many factors and constraints, including how we move construction vehicles in and out of various sites across the town and when and where we can close roads.
“Furthermore, much of the works are underground in deep or shallow excavations, in close proximity to water bodies. All of these considerations have to be taken into account so that health and safety remains at the forefront of the Munster Blackwater (Mallow South and West) Drainage Scheme.”