The Spolana complex is located in close proximity to the River Elbe, which is an advantage in terms of having sufficient water supplies for production processes, but which at the same time exposes Spolana to the risk of flood. The biggest flood in history, in 2002, saw the whole of the company’s premises being submerged, huge material damage was caused, and, unfortunately, hazardous substances leaked into water and the air. The company learned from this situation and optimised its flood plan. It was mainly thanks to the technical and organisational measures taken that it was able to respond adequately and on time to the next floods that arrived, in 2013, such that no extraordinary incidents to threaten the environment occurred - only property was damaged.
PILLARS OF THE CONCEPT OF FLOOD PROTECTION AT SPOLANA
1) The ability to shut down production on time.
2) Technical measures to minimise damage within the Spolana complex and in the surrounding area.
3) The “Neratovicka” flood protection project.
Re. 1) The first pillar primarily involves the ability to safely shut down production in the event of the threat of flooding, a need served by updated technical and organisational procedures. The flood or crisis team at the company mainly directs its activities at the following whenever a risk arises:
- the timely and safe shutdown of chemical production;
- minimising damage to technological equipment;
- the danger of hazardous substances, such that they do not threaten the environment, employees, and the residents of surrounding towns and villages;
- the relocation of tankers, containers and everything that could take water to a safe place.
Spolana also concentrated on improvements in the sphere of communication with the surrounding area and it has, since 2013, had a representative on the flood team in the town of Neratovice. It also embarked on cooperation with Kralupy Environmental Centre in 2014.
Re. 2) After the floods in 2002, and the negative consequences of them, the company took a number of technical measures to minimise the threat to the complex and the surrounding area, primarily in the sphere of chlorine chemistry and the elimination of heavy fuel oils. It then took further measures in relation to its experiences of the floods in 2013. In particular, in terms of organisational and material assurance:
- a timely warning system that optimises communication with the Elbe and Vltava catchment basin;
- optimisation of the human resources and mechanisation required for the evaluation of identified equipment;
- regular drills in preparedness for emergencies;
- ensuring an independent source of electricity.
Spolana also moved ahead with the following flood protection measures as individual parts of the broader process:
- the installation of non-return valves on effluents;
- the preparation of procedures and equipment for the fast dismantling of production control systems;
- flood protection for distribution systems, or the relocation of distribution systems, main cables, and transformers to higher positions;
- flood protection solutions for tank receptacles;
- examining the possibility of relocating warehouses.
Re. 3) The “Neratovicka” flood protection project
It was back in the year 2014 that Spolana worked together with Neratovice and Libiš to commission a feasibility study aimed atproviding an overview of all possible ways of protecting Spolana and all adjacent communities, and the contexts and possible impacts of the individual possibilities. The study was complied at the end of 2014 and proposed six possible alternatives. It then underwent peer review at the Czech Technical University in Prague in March 2015. The idea of the peer review was to check whether the procedure to compile the study was correct and whether the proposed alternatives are realistic. The peer review concluded that the study proves the technical and economic feasibility of the investment plan, targeted at flood protection. The proposed solutions also respect the underground water remediation project within the Spolana complex. It ensues from a detailed survey of the area and detailed mapping and evaluation of potential flood damage and risks that the “PPO NERATOVICKO” flood protection measure is economically effective as a whole. The best alternative was also recommended
Then, in September 2015, a contract was signed between Spolana, the town of Neratovice, and the village of Libiš on the procurement of environmental impact assessment (EIA() documentation and a model of the flow of underground and surface waters. Another step will come with the announcement of a tender for someone to compile these materials. Should the EIA documentation and flow model result in positive conclusions, preparatory work on the project will continue with the compilation of documentation for planning procedure.