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Climate-Proofing

Flood Protection Products

 

Analox Environmental Technology Limited (AET), located in the U.K., sells Aqua-Sac®, an alternative to traditional sandbags. The bag is a jute sack with a cotton liner that contains a super-absorbent polymer. Both the jute sack and cotton liner are biodegradable. To inflate, the bag is immersed in water for five minutes. Because the sacks are lighter than traditional sandbags, they can be transported in higher volumes and in smaller vehicles. One hundred Aqua-Sacs can be transported on a pallet that would only carry 25 traditional sandbags. If they are not contaminated, Aqua-Sacs® can be dried out and reused. AET is an ISO 9000 accredited company, attesting to its reliability and trustworthiness. In addition to the U.K., distributors for the Aqua-Sac® are found in Belgium and France.

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AquaFence, a Norwegian company, developed the AquaFence® in conjunction with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Innovation Norway, and Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Its Flood Protection Products are patent protected in Norway and around the world. AquaFence® is a transportable flood protection barrier that is easy to set up and store. It is completely reusable, has a life-span of decades, and is very economical. It is often used away from property around river banks and by the sea, as it offers protection from waves, flowing water, and high tides. Each fence panel consists of two boards made from marine grade plywood that comes in compact flat packs. The fence may include a geomembrane that fits between the barrier and the ground or a hard surface to prevent leaks. The company notes that the system is “a serious option for dyke heightening.” AquaFence® received high level approval in a Performance Certificate for its Standalone Movable Flood Abatement System by the Hydraulic Laboratory Centre of Climate Adaptation Research, plus other certification. In addition to Norway, the product is sold in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, Germany, and Hungary.

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ARCADIS, headquartered in the Netherlands (Dutch website: arcadis-global.com), are International water experts in the areas of flood protection, delta technology, and coastal engineering, among others. Founded in 1888 as an association for wasteland redevelopment, it now provides design and engineering solutions through its projects for companies and governments around the world. Recently, ARCADIS submitted storm surge barrier designs for a 4,800 foot barrier in the New York City Harbor Bay to protect New York City and the New Jersey Metropolitan Region from severe coastal flooding. As a Dutch company, it has had longstanding experience in urban delta flood protection. ARCADIS is represented internationally in over 70 countries, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, the U.K., the U.S., South America, Canada, Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, and United Arab Emirates, to name a few.

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Bauer Ltd. is headquartered in Germany (website: demflood.com ). For over a century it has been best known for its advanced civil engineering technologies. Its Bauer-IBS Demountable Flood Defense (Demflood™) has been used successfully worldwide for over 10 years. Demflood™ consists of a horizontal leak-resistant dam beam, plus vertical rails of extruded aluminum and stainless steel. The system deploys rapidly once activated. The normal barrier height of 1.5 meters - 1.6 meters can be increased with additional dam beams up to a maximum of five meters, even while in use. Agents are located around the world in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Egypt, the UK, Latvia, Poland, France, Liechtenstein, Austria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, or at headquarters in Germany.

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Big Bag Harbeck, GmbH, headquartered in Germany (English website: bigbagsusa.com), has been manufacturing and selling its Big Bag patented product for over 15 years. Five bags together make up a unit. The initially flat bags are quickly filled with available local sand by a mixer, loader, or bulb-fitted crane, and the process requires only two people for completion. The bags create a high quality protective wall. The bags are made from a high stability and robust food-safe polypropylene tissue and from timbers. Once the water subsides, the bags are dismantled quickly and easily. Units are sold in Germany, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Italy, the U.S., and internationally.

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Easifit Ventguard is located in the UK and specializes in stainless steel guards for air bricks. To secure the guard, a rod is inserted through the ventguard and then through the air brick. The weighted swivel toggle on the end of the rod grasps the back of the air brick. Once the rod is turned and tightened, the toggle secures the ventguard to the air brick, a process that takes about 30 seconds. With tightening, the edges of the ventguard are sealed to the air brick with a waterproof sealing membrane. Each air brick hole is individually sealed due to the special design of the membrane. Independent testing by Easifit revealed no leakage of the ventguard. Ventguards are available in small and standard sizes. Besides being light, strong, and effective, ventguards are reasonably priced at under £50.

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eSANDBAGS, a division of Saddleback Sandbags, is located in the U.S. They sell two types of sandbags: empty yellow polypropylene sandbags and burlap sandbags. The polypropylene bags are 14 X 26 inches, 1600 UV treated, with a tie string attached for closure. Cost ranges from $0.25 to $0.35 per bag depending on the size of the order. In California, the company will deliver filled sandbags when requested. The burlap sandbags are also 14 X 26 inches and are a 10 ounce weave.

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Flexidam, an American company, uses a unique triangular configuration in its flood protection dam to provide stability. The Flexidam™ is made from a high-strength geomembrane with inter-connected flexible tubes. To deploy, water is pumped into the tubes, which then expand to a maximum height of five feet. The geomembrane is resistant to ultraviolet rays, cracking, premature aging, and extreme weather conditions. When the flood waters recede, the water inside the dam can be released back to a stream. Flexidam™ is available in 50 and 100 foot lengths. It has been tested and approved by NASA in conjunction with the Space Alliance Technology Outreach program. Contact the home office in Katy, Texas to obtain the product.

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Flodef Flood Protection Solutions is located in the UK. Its system begins with a survey. Then a panel housing is constructed in the ground underneath a back or front door threshold. One person is needed to raise the housed membrane that protects the door opening from up to three feet of flood water. For vent protection Flodef offers a “smart” air brick that automatically closes against rising flood waters. The smart air brick reopens when flood waters subside. No human effort is needed. Another product, the automatic alarm, provides an external hard wired sensor that sets off an alarm and an autodialer that dials up to five telephone numbers requesting assistance. Flodef uses recycled materials as often as possible. It uses recycled specialist plastics for some of its product parts. The Flodef system is in compliance with the BSI Kitemark for building skirt systems, assuring its quality.

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Flood Ark Limited, an English manufacturer, produces a barrier system for exit doors, patio doors, and garage doors. An aluminum frame, which is usually attached to the building, can be recessed into the ground to allow regular access and then pulled up when flooding is imminent. Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (UPVC) boards that are 200 mm in depth, but very strong, are put in position before the compression locks seal the boards to the aluminum frame. The system also includes protection for windows and air vents that are close to ground level. Furthermore, the company states it will accommodate any type of aperture. A "closed cell silicone sponge" technology used in the barriers makes this product unique. Flood Ark's temporary barrier has received the BSI Kitemark, an indicator of the rigorous testing it has been subjected to. Products are sold throughout the UK.

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Flood Control America , LLC, (FCA) designed the Invisible Flood Control Wall™ (IFCW), as an alternative to conventional levees. Made of hollow light weight aluminum planks, weather proof rubber seals, lock-down clamps, sill plates, anchor bolts, and a concrete foundation, FCA provides a product with “off the shelf components.” The sill plate is set on top of the concrete foundation during construction and the anchor bolts sink into the concrete to hold the sill in place. In a flooding situation, three people can install 1,200 square feet of the IFCW in two hours by adding the extruded hollow aluminum planks and using the other components. As water fills the aluminum planks, its weight is doubled adding to the strength of the wall. The walls can reach a height of eight feet if needed. Using the IFCW has allowed for the development of riverside property as it provides FEMA-mandated flood protection levels. In 2000, FCA was awarded the Seven Wonders of Engineering Award for Engineering Achievement and the IFCW has been analyzed and accepted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. In 2009, FCA designed the largest removable flood wall in the world at the airport in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is 3,500 lineal feet in length.

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Since the mid-1990s, Floodgate, Ltd., a Welsh company, has manufactured flood barriers for all types of doors and vents. These 25 millimeter (mm) thick steel barriers do not require any permanent fittings. They expand telescopically and, according to the company, can be installed in two minutes. The Extended System allows multiple flood gates to join together for larger commercial openings. Door barriers are BSI Kitemark accredited and sold throughout the U.K., Europe, the U.S., and Australia.

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Floodguard Systems, Ltd. is headquartered in Reading, England. Its flood protection products begin with door guards. Floodguard uses acrylic-capped acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) sheeting for all parts of the guard. Unobtrusive, color-coordinated frames permanently fit to a building. Once the guard is secured, the pressure from rising floodwater seals the guard tightly to the building. Floodguard also provides Floodalert, a sensor pod that is placed on property where water would first appear. The pod then responds to the water by sending an electronic alert to a control box. The control box sets off an alarm that can dial up to four telephone numbers requesting assistance. In addition to selling air brick covers, Floodguard Systems offers Rapidam and Rapitank for commercial use. Rapidam, a patented water tight zip technology, includes large freestanding and boltdown barriers for use near rivers and streams. Both door guards and Rapidam are BSI Kitemark certified products. All products are sold in the U.K., Italy, and the U.S.

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Floodguard UK manufactures FloodProof™ automatic flood defense doors. Using a variety of door materials, Floodguard UK doors offer wide use for residential, commercial, and historic door applications. Door materials include unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (UPVC), aluminum, steel, wood-like composites, seasoned timbers, and hardwoods. Floodguard UK offers over 100 anti-flood door styles. A unique pneumatic seal automatically inflates to shield a door or window. Because the system is automatic, it provides protection 24 hours a day. This FloodProof™ Door System was awarded the "Best in Show" Glassex 2007 at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. Other products include manual and automatic flood prevention gates; 'FloodSafe' Door System, a patented commercial shop door; and Airlock™and Archive Doors, suitable for laboratory, hygiene, storage, medical, and general use.

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Flood Protection Systems Sweden AB provides both stationary and mobile flood protection products to control flooding of infrastructure such as dams, reservoirs, channel improvements, and buildings. This company began developing its products in 1995 and now they are patented in several countries. The stationary product is a fabric, which lays on the ground or up against a building, and is used to channel water in a particular direction or to protect a structure from rising floodwater. Pricing is low and the product is sold Internationally. Some countries include Sweden, the U.S., France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

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Floodshield is located in the UK and offers a "do it yourself" flood barrier for doors. The design is tough plastic and is patented in the U.S., the UK, and is awaiting patent approval in Europe. Purchase can be made without a survey. No tools are required for installation and no permanent fixtures are necessary. The barriers remove easily taking less than 60 seconds. Floodshield asserts that once the door is closed the flood barrier cannot be stolen. The company offers six standard sizes of door barriers and states its barriers are 100 percent watertight and inexpensive.

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 Floodtite is located in the UK and all flood protection product offerings are patented. One of its unique products is the Aquatite 'Panseal.' The purpose of the 'Panseal' is to prevent sewage from backing up through the toilet. The Panseal fits inside the toilet bowl when flooding is expected. Two parts comprise the 'Panseal': the main body and the expansion seal. The seal is made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and is bonded to a chemical resistant plastic. Surrounding the main body is round rubber tubing. A Schrader valve, typically used on tires, is integrated with the tube for air inflation and causes the tubing to expand and create a double seal. Aquatite Systems also manufactures air bricks and flood protection panels up to 27 inches in height for residences and commercial use. After the initial installation of the panel, one person can quickly tighten the panel with thumb screws and create a watertight seal. The Aquatite panels have been extensively tested by the Loss Prevention Council in the UK.

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Geodesign Barriers, Ltd., a Swedish company, makes barriers that have been used throughout Europe for a decade. Its newest barriers use steel frames. The barriers are made of aluminum sheets, waterproof plywood, or wooden pallets. Geomembranes and geotextiles are also used. Geodesign Barriers™ received the BSI Kitemark for the first freestanding flood barrier in 2003. Products are available in Sweden, Germany, England, France, the U.S., Holland, Australia, Austria, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

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HESCO Bastian, Ltd., headquartered in the U.K., has been developing and manufacturing Concertainer® units since 1990 for flood protection, erosion prevention, and other purposes. The square shaped units fold flat when empty so that several can be easily transported on a pallet. Units are filled with available local fill material by use of standard backhoe loaders or similar equipment. The unit's framework is a Galfan coated steel mesh. The unit is lined with a permeable geotextile fabric, which allows groundwater to slowly drain from behind the wall of units, minimizing soil failure from saturation and overloading. The vertical joints are made from helical coils. All units are built to ISO International standards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) tested the Hesco Concertainer® units, and the units were found to be the best solution in emergency flood control. In fact, COE called on the Concertainer® units to help with the flooding created by Hurricane Katrina. The units were deployed into major levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina and before Hurricane Rita. In addition to its use for flood damage prevention, the units provide excellent protection against wind and ice. The product is sold in the U.K., the U.S., and internationally.

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Hydrological Solutions, Inc., headquartered in the U.S., manufactures several water inflated barrier systems including WIPP™, AutoWIPP™, and Aqua Barriers™. The WIPP system (Water-Inflated Property Protector) has a patented internal baffle system that locks into place when the barrier is exposed to greater water pressure on one side. The protector is made from a flexible vinyl membrane and comes in sizes ranging from 1 to 8 feet high and 10 to 100 feet in length. It takes one or two people using any available local water, including oncoming floodwater, to rapidly inflate a unit. Units are lightweight, compact in storage, repairable, and reusable. The AutoWIPP™ uses the same system but automatically inflates in place, using less human intervention. It is permanently installed in a recessed channel in the ground and then covered by a sturdy, industrial steel plate. The AutoWIPP™ can be installed at any stage of development of a facility. The website includes a cost calculator to calculate flood damage costs. International agents can be reached through the website. Hydrological Solutions, Inc. has agents in 29 countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, China, Russia, Venezuela, and Spain, among others.

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The Layfield Group is located in the U.S. and Canada. It developed Aqua Dam®, an inflatable tube barrier, to divert floodwater or storm runoff on residential and commercial properties. It is a temporary portable water filled dam structure made from a high strength woven material or from polyethylene. The inner tubes of the dam are filled with available water. A collar at the closed end of the tube allows two Aqua Dams® to fit and work together to hold back floodwater and to provide stability. The dam is touted as environmentally safe and easily deployed. Once the water has receded, the portable dam can be drained, stored, and reused. The Layfield group notes that "Aqua Dam® makes an ideal choice for preventing overtopping of levees, which is the number one cause of levee failure." The following government agencies have granted approval to Aqua Dam™ as a viable and environmental friendly means of diverting water: the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Australian Pipeline Industry Association.

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Megasecur International, headquartered in Canada, offers the water barrier called Water-Gate. The unique design allows the weight of the floodwater to stop the water. Floodwater flows into the barrier causing the barrier to deploy automatically. The barrier arrives in a crate with 500 feet of barrier folded like an accordion. It takes only one person to lay the barrier. With an integrated ballasting on the front flap, the barrier can control and divert floodwater. The Water-Gate can be installed on any surface and can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is made from polyester fabric coated with ultra robust polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The wall is as high as a man is tall. When needed, several barriers can be connected to form a dam. In addition to the company winning five awards, the Water-Gate is used throughout Canada. For its usefulness and reliability, the Water-Gate has also received support from the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Forest Service. Offices are found in Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Turkey, the U.S., Switzerland, Belgium, Scotland, France, and Finland.

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MWH Soft, a company located in the U.S., was founded in 1996 and is known for its environmental engineering software. It developed InfoSWMM®, a powerful and comprehensive Urban Drainage Management Solution for ArcGIS™. Due to InfoSWMM's® direct ArcGIS™ integration, engineers and GIS professionals can work simultaneously on the same integrated platform. Among the many types of applications available in the program, some relevant ones are: rainfall-runoff modeling of urban and rural watersheds, overflow management, and modeling of river hydraulics and associated flooding problems. The software is certified by NAGCS, indicating that neutral third-party testing has been successfully completed. MWH Soft® has over 100 offices internationally. They include Brazil, Belgium, France, the U.K., Egypt, Australia, Venezuela, China, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, India, and Turkey, to name a few.

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Presray Corporation, headquartered in the U.S., opened its doors in 1955. In its early days, it was guided by the rigorous demands of the aerospace and nuclear industries. Presnay carried those strict quality assurance demands into the manufacturing of its flood products by thoroughly testing and inspecting its watertight doors and barriers. All seals are inspected per the ASME code. Its flood products include five flood barriers, four flood gates, and four watertight doors and hatches. Each type of barrier is ideally suited for a specific use. The flood barriers are recommended for any commercial, municipal, industrial, or healthcare facilities. The flood gates are suited for hospitals, banks, hotels, and parking garages. The doors and hatches are recommended for water treatment facilities, sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, equipment rooms, and other industrial facilities. Most barriers and gates are made from aluminum, although stainless steel is an option for most barriers. Products are sold in Canada, Mexico, and internationally.

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PS Corporation, headquartered in the U.S., manufactures seven types of flood protection products. They are the Lift Out Shield, the Hinged Flood Barrier, the Pedestrian Flood Door, the Self-Closing Flood Wall, the Vertical Lift Flood Barrier, the Sliding Flood Barrier, and the Flood Plank. All doors and barriers are made from mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum; however, the Flood Plank only comes in aluminum. All products come with a compression seal and do not require compressed air for activation. The Flood Plank and Lift Out Shields are the most economical. The Self-Closing Flood Wall is ideal for flash flooding, and the Vertical Lift Flood Barrier is an automatic barrier, ideal for large openings. FEMA and ASME code compliance information is found under Technical Specifications on the website. Products are sold in the U.S., Canada, and internationally.

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Sandbag Express, a U.S. based company, has sold its sandbags to municipalities and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for over 50 years. The sandbags are basically for low-flow protection up to two feet. The company is known for its quick delivery of sandbags, using every resource available to accomplish that goal. Its sandbags are inexpensive and sell for $0.23 to $0.29 per bag, depending on quantity. Price breaks are available for large quantities. Contact can be made through the website.

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SMARTVENT, located in the U.S., has developed the only vent ICC certified for 200 square feet of coverage to meet FEMA requirements. The stainless steel dual action vent also meets the requirements of FEMA's NFIP program that provides flood insurance for homes or buildings located in a floodplain. A latch keeps the Smart VENT® closed until floodwater enters. Once water enters the vent the water lifts the internal floats that unlatches and rotates the door open. The floodwater then enters and exits through the frame opening, relieving the pressure on foundation walls. For ventilation purposes, as outside temperature change, a bimetallic coil automatically opens and closes the ventilation louvers. When it is freezing outside the louvers will close. When it is warm outside the louvers will open to allow for natural ventilation. Vents are sold in the U.S.

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Total Flood Solutions, headquartered in Swansea, Wales, manufactures three types of door barriers: the Retractable Barrier, the Swinging Barrier, and the Retractable Membrane System, which received BSI Kitemark accreditation. The retractables are stored in the ground in watertight ducts. The openings can be covered with an aluminum cover for a smooth transition to a road or walkway. Retractables can be installed on new construction or on existing buildings. These door barriers carry a 10 year guarantee. Without protection, brick can be penetrated by floodwaters when immersed for as little as 20 minutes. To solve this problem, Total Flood Solutions offers a Veneer Walling waterproof membrane that bonds to masonry walls and protects it from floodwater. Total Flood Solutions also developed a flood alarm system that will call up to five telephone numbers, after floodwater near the property activates the system. All products are sold in Wales, England, and Scotland.

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Waterstudio.NL, an architectural firm headquartered in the Netherlands, was founded approximately seven years ago by the architect Koen Olthuis. It is the first architectural company in the world to focus 100 percent on the concept of building on water. Koen's vision is to adapt to water rather than to fight against it. His homes and structures are built on piles, are waterproof, sealed, and float: rising and falling with the height of the water. The houses slide up and down two wide steel posts with a sliding variance of 5 meters. Lately, Waterstudio.NL has been building in areas that were once banned because they were flood-prone. One project was built on stilts so that the flooding, when it occurred, would not impact the houses built in the flood-prone area, but at the same time it would give water a place to be. Among Waterstudio.NL’s designs are an on the water apartment complex, a floating mosque and a 25 story floating hotel in Dubai, a semi-floating parking storage in the Netherlands, a floating Health Enjoyment & Challenge Center in Aruba, and a floating boulevard in Belgium. Waterstudio.NL has appeared in the media more than 140 times.

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