Clearing Cumbria – The Clean Up Operation after Storms Desmond and Frank

After the devastation of Storm Desmond and Storm Frank Cumbria is now in a state of repair. The clean-up operation is in full swing as residents who had previously aimed to recover before Christmas, now try to start the New Year by returning to normality.

To help with the recovery process, a team from Feedback went up to Carlisle to join the clean-up process. Based in a supermarket, we were tasked with clearing the waste and soled products from the shop floor in preparation for the refit. On our way to the site our team were able to see first-hand the devastation caused by storm Desmond. Large areas of Carlisle were still without power, and the streets were strewn with family possessions and house contents. The brick work of buildings were stained by the water line from the previous few days. In some parts of the city, the water had reached three to four foot high.

Our team arrived on the Tuesday night, faced with retreating water line and a large flood damaged superstore. We met with the onsite contact and assessed the site and what needed to be done. We started soon after and ended up working from late into the night. Our initial emergency response team started to clear the shop floor by utilising 1100L bins and onsite RORO’s. With a focus on food waste, we targeted most heavily soiled foods. We moved everything from bags of pasta and rice that had expanded to near bursting point thanks to the flood water, to hazardous substances that needed specialist containment.

We started early in the morning of the second day. We had a larger team onsite with over 20 staff. After a team briefing, our teams were set up as pairs, each with a set areas and given aims. We created a system using 1100L bins and onsite bin-lorries to ferry waste between the shop floor and the disposal points. We worked throughout the day and cleared a large proportion of the shop floor. The third day came and our onsite teams moved onto clearing the rear storage areas. We sorted and stored broken WEEE goods, and cleared the bakeries of soggy pastries and worked alongside other contractors to enable the removal of the shop fittings. We spent the majority of the day clearing, stacking and packing alcohol. We packed tens of thousands of pounds worth of salvaged stock, and loaded it into lorries to start the recovery process. As the day drew to a close half of our team finished up for the week and prepared for the long drive home toward Hampshire, whilst our remote operatives stayed on to help for the next few days.

We commend the supermarket we were working in for their waste management team for their determination to salvage, re-purpose and recycle as much as they could, they even invited charities to collect some of the undamaged goods and donated what they could to local causes. Hopefully by the time of publishing this blog, the people of Cumbria will be nearing normality once again. Our best wished go out to those affected. For more information on the removal of flood damaged stock or to book another type of clearance through feedback local, please call 0845 023 0338 or visit our booking page here.