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Some people quit the booze for January but dry January for the River Dearne in Yorkshire had a totally different meaning. The cascading weir at Yorkshire Sculpture Park can be seen in this photo without any water flowing over it. No, the River Dearne hasn't stopped flowing, don't worry! It was diverted around the series of weirs to make it easier for our surveyors and engineers to carry out an assessment on the structures for possible maintenance work. If only we could do this for all the structures we survey!

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Continued rain into December has left a lot of homes flooded over the Christmas break. Spare a thought for those that have had to leave their properties behind and find alternative accomodation over the festive period. The stress and upset this causes is bad enough at the best of times, but over the Christmas period where people and families want to come together and share happy times it is devastating. Our surveyors plugged on in the wet conditions to complete four scour protection surveys for the Western area for Network Rail.

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Extreme flooding across the UK has led to a very busy week at the end of November for Storm Geomatics. On the 26th November surveyors were called out to the River Soar in Hathern, Leicestershire for post flood level monitoring. In Leicestershire flooding caused devastating levels of damage and destruction to local communities with 13 flood warnings in Leicestershire issued by the Environment Agency over the weekend of the 24th November, including warnings for the River Soar.

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This month surveyors undertook a bathymetric survey for McCains Food Processing in Peterborough. The data from the survey of the gravel pit lake (pictured), adjacent to the McCains factory, is to be used in a feasibility study for the use of the water as a coolant via a heat exchange system within the factory. The bed levels were recorded using an Ohmex single frequency echo sounder synchronised to a GNSS controller, meanwhile temperatures were logged using a depth and pressure sensor more commonly used for tagging sharks!

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Wilford Toll Bridge

Wilford Toll bridge crosses the River Trent at Wilford, near Nottingham. The bridge is no longer used for traffic - only pedestrians. The bridge was originally built in 1864 to replace a ferry which had a history of disaters - the worst one in 1784 when the overcrowded ferry capsized in a gale and six of its passengers drowned. The bridge is to be widened to carry the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) which is a network of tramlines across the city. Our surveyors were asked to carry out a bed level survey under the bridge before construction starts and then another one at the completion of the bridge. We wish the construction company a "successful widening" and look forward to returning to the bridge in the spring 2013.

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Birdland in the lovely Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire was within the scope to survey the River Windrush that flows through the town. It made for a few interesting days as the survey team worked through the famous attraction - birds were seen on the Windrush that have never been seen before on our British watercourses! The river provides an ideal habitat for some of the wading birds and river birds within Birdland. This project was also the first project that our new trainee surveyor Steve Drew experienced. It doesn't get much better than that Steve! Welcome aboard!

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Some nasty floods around the River Calder in West Yorkshire this month gave rise to our surveyors getting on their bikes and doing some investigation into how the flooding occurred. The upper reaches of the river run through a steep valley alongside a canal, and in this event the canal overtopped into the Calder in places causing the river to flood. Our surveyors equipped with Network RTK GPS used the tow path of the canal to move along the valley on bicycles to identify low spots between the canal and river. The data will be used within the hydraulic model of the catchment to improve the integrity of the model results. The name Calder is thought to originate from the early British meaning violent waters or stream - our surveyors could see how it got its name from the damage they witnessed while carrying out the work.

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Our surveyors undertook five more scour assessment surveys for London Underground this month - one of which was classed as a confined space. These assessments create a score for the structure over the watercourse and indicate to the client whether or not there is a danger of the foundations of the structure being weakened by the power of the water rushing against it. Our team use an industry recognised procedure to calculate the score for the bridge and provide scale drawings, calculations and photographs to present their findings. They look at all the relevant detail needed to compile the report, right down to the size of the gravel on the bed around the structure.

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Watercourses

If you have ever procured survey services for watercourses before you will realise that in order to get what you need you will have to go to a company with experience in this field. Our survey teams have just completed a small but complex survey of a network of brooks in Derby. Our client knew this job would be a tough one to model so he took the safe option and used Storm Geomatics to complete the task.

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Luton Hoo Lakes

Well we haven't got any tips for the horses this month, but we have got a new tip for our pole! The metal plate on the base of the pole is designed to sit on top of soft silt so our survey teams can get a more accurate level for silt volume calculations. We used this recently at Luton Hoo Lakes to provide a digital terrain model of the lake bed so engineers can calculate the volume of silt lying on the bed. The tip works really well and we will be using it on our next lake survey which is at Ifield near Crawley.

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