NUIG plans flood wall after ‘extreme risk’ identified

An aerial view of NUI Galway

An assessment at NUI Galway has found an “extreme risk” which would force the campus to shut down for up to two months if flooding occurred during heavy rain.

College authorities have now sought permission to build a new flood defence wall along the bank of part of Distillery Channel.

According to the assessment, essential services such as communications, IT, heating and air conditioning would be knocked out.

Archives and rare documents in the basement of the library would also be under threat because of a lack of appropriate heating and ventilation.

The plans are for a defence wall which will be 33 metres long and 1.2 metres in height along the water course, which is a Protected Structure.

“It is being proposed to construct a flood prevention wall along a section of Distillery Channel north of Distillery Road bridge. This is proposed so flood water in channel upstream from the newly-fitted penstock can be contained and preventing flooding of a building on the west side of the embankment.

“In the event of heavy rain, the penstock at Distillery Road bridge will be closed preventing heavy swells of storm water getting into Distillery Channel.

“The flood waters will be diverted to River Corrib directly via an existing water course known as Gerry’s Cut which lies across the road from the Kingfisher building,” the application reads.

According to the flood risk assessment, the impact of flooding of the concourse service road on the campus as a whole is considered “extreme”.

“The most obvious impact is disruption to vehicular and pedestrian traffic and inundation of low-lying offices etc.

“However, a more significant impact is associated with the basement service duct system in the Arts and Science building which connects to the heating and ventilation systems, telecommunications systems and service ducting for the campus.

“The impacts, besides disruption to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and inundation of low-lying offices etc., due to the damage of essential services include:
■ Lack of heating and ventilation to the buildings.
■ Lack of appropriate heating and ventilation to the archives and rare documents storage areas situated in the basement of the library.
■ Malfunctioning of the telecommunications system.
■ Malfunctions of computer services.

“In addition, such flood levels would be expected to flood the foul sewer system in the campus leading to contaminated flood waters which would pose a health and safety risk.

“A preliminary assessment by the university of the flooding of the service conduit concluded that it would take close to two months to repair the resulting damages to the essential services which, in effect, would force much of the campus buildings to close or, at a minimum, have greatly reduced services,” the assessment reads.

Planners are expected to reach a decision on the application by the end of March.