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Even if President Trump claims that climate change is a Chinese hoax, there is no denying the fact that countries all over the world have found themselves facing harsher weather conditions over the last few years. Whilst meteorologists stress that the weather and the climate are not the same thing, there is certainly evidence to suggest that we are dealing here with the consequences of the man-made greenhouse effect. The German city of Goslar, situated on the edge of the Harz National Park, was hit by such extreme weather conditions in July 2017.
Torrential rain swept through the city on the morning of 24 July causing all rivers and streams to break their banks. With so much rain falling on the Harz within just 48 hours, water levels rose quickly and roads were turned into gushing rivers. Thousands of residents living in this south east region of Lower Saxony were directly affected by the flooding. Working closely together with the fire brigade, THW, the police and local authorities, EURAWASSER had their hands full tackling this emergency.
By the morning of 26 July, the small brook, “Abzucht”, had turned into a rushing torrent
It is always a great relief for local authorities if they know they can get the support and help they need from their private sector partners at short notice – especially when they find themselves facing a potentially disastrous situation. EURAWASSER turned up straight away to help the City of Goslar fight the flash floods, providing them with full technical and logistical support. Remaining in close contact with its parent company, REMONDIS Aqua, it also arranged for additional equipment to be brought in from other regions. There are very few companies that are able to respond so quickly, competently and unbureaucratically to economic, technical and environmental crises. When the torrential rains hit the city, EURAWASSER and REMONDIS were able to show that they are definitely the right partners to have at your side in such extreme situations.
The THW, fire brigade and EURAWASSER joined forces to tackle the floods in July 2017.
Up to 300 litres of rain per square metre had poured down on the Harz region within just 48 hours. By the morning of 26 July, the usually gently-flowing brook, “Abzucht”, had turned into a rushing torrent and flooded large sections of the old city. The market place was completely under water; rainwater poured through the streets and into the buildings. Whilst local residents tried to save their houses by covering their front doors and cellar windows with sandbags, plastic covers and anything else they could get their hands on, a team of 350 firefighters from Goslar’s fire brigade tirelessly tackled the floods. Whole streets of houses and an old people’s home with 124 residents had to be evacuated. Life in the city centre came to a standstill.
The fire brigade had their hands full and were grateful for all the support they could get from EURAWASSER, the local authorities and the many volunteers
Fire firefighters, the THW, the police, the local authorities and EURAWASSER as well as many volunteers worked around the clock – building up sandbags, blocking off roads and pumping water out of cellars, underground carparks and underpasses. By midday Wednesday, the District of Goslar had issued a “catastrophe” alert. Throughout this time, EURAWASSER’s employees made sure that the drains were kept free to allow the water to run off and dealt with any problems that cropped up in this area. This cleaning work was particularly important – if they hadn’t done this, rocks, pieces of wood and any other floating debris would have accumulated and further aggravated the situation. The city centre’s sewer system had been completely flooded by the “Abzucht” breaking its banks. Debris and mud had found their way into the pipes and these materials also had to be removed by EURAWASSER as quickly as possible. Thanks to this vital and strenuous work, EURAWASSER’s team helped ensure that Goslar’s wastewater system was not put at risk. The sewage treatment plant also treated huge volumes of water – always producing the same high quality results so that all threshold values were met.
The rivers Gande and Leine in the neighbouring town of Kreiensen (an area also served by EURAWASSER) were close to breaking their banks and practically all of the rainwater channels there were flooded. EURAWASSER replaced broken pumps and removed any blockages to prevent the situation escalating any further.
Climate change is making itself felt: the city hadn’t been flooded so badly for 119 years.
The last time Goslar had been hit by such massive floods was back in 1898. Public private partnerships had not been invented back then. Fortunately, the situation today is very different thanks to the close cooperation work between the City of Goslar and EURAWASSER. And, with teams of staff from other REMONDIS locations taking their special vehicles to Goslar to help tackle the floodwaters, EURAWASSER was able to provide the local authorities with fast, practical and uncomplicated support throughout