Disaster response in Calderdale
SUEZ's philosophy of partnership working with local authorities was put to the test in unforeseen circumstances during the severe floods of Christmas 2015. Following the destruction of bridges and roads in the Calder Valley and inundation of low-lying properties, the council and SUEZ collaborated closely to mount a rapid clean-up operation.
To help Calderdale council, residents and businesses cope with the immediate consequences of catastrophic flooding.
Our Senior Contract Manager received a call from the council on Boxing Day alerting us to the crisis and preparations began for the inevitable clean-up programme.
Within two days, a flood response team was mobilised. This involved additional plant, fleet – including vehicles from other SUEZ contracts – and staff, many of whom were due to be on leave. Facilities and areas also had to be prepared for incoming waste.
These resources were deployed on Monday 28 December, at the same time as our collection crews provided the normal post-holiday, catch-up services.
The council opened up a gritting station at Holme End as a temporary transfer point where residents could dump flood-damaged items. Our teams bulked up this waste for disposal.
SUEZ collection crews worked weekends and New Year’s Day, along with staff at our transfer station in Halifax and the Todmorden civic amenity site.
In the first four days alone, our Calderdale team processed more than 1,000 tonnes of material in addition to their normal collections. These proceeded as usual despite the disaster.
Over the following six weeks, a further 4,000 tonnes of household items and business stock were removed.
Our staff worked 7,500 hours of overtime.
The rapid response in difficult circumstances reinforced the sense of camaraderie among our Calderdale team as well as earning the gratitude of local people.
- 5,000 tonnes flood-damaged items handled, on top of routine waste collection
- 7,500 hours overtime worked by SUEZ staff