Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Monday 12th September 2011

Housing an excavated Roman army fort and living quarters, the Roman Vindolanda museum in Hexham, Northumberland is home to some of Britain’s most precious artefacts – including the earliest existing archive of written materials, the Vindolanda tablets. The museum is located at the bottom of an extremely steep hill and is at constant risk of flooding during severe weather. To combat this, Marley Plumbing and Drainage has supplied a sustainable drainage system that reduces and controls the flow of water.

Excavations have been taking place on the huge archaeological site since the 1970s and have uncovered a vast array of textiles, leather goods and intricate wooden, bronze and iron objects. The heavy clay soil and thick layers of turf prevent any oxygen from reaching the buried objects, preserving them in almost perfect condition. However, this compact protective layer also prevents rainwater from soaking into the hillside, meaning it can quickly build up into a damaging torrent that threatens the museum buildings.

As part of a wider programme of construction and refurbishment, David Evans of Border Construction installed a Marley attenuation system comprising Waterloc250 cells to stem the flow. He said: “I’ve worked with Marley’s products before and have always had a good experience using them, so it made sense that they would be our first port of call for solving the drainage problem.

“The museum is located in a very hilly area, which poses a real risk of flooding during heavy rain, and with a large extension being added to the building, it was more important than ever to protect the site. The advice and support we received from Marley helped us specify the most appropriate solution and we will definitely be using them again in the future.”

Waterloc250 is a modular storage cell for infiltration and attenuation purposes. Designed to store storm-water temporarily below ground and release it at a pre-determined rate, the system is quickly assembled by alternately rotating the interlocking cells 180°. This limits the peak flow of water, reducing the likelihood of flooding downstream.

Enabling maximum flexibility and with a storage volume of 96%, the size of the attenuation tank is critical to allow sufficient capacity to prevent flooding. Marley Technical Services offer a design service that can assist with the calculations for the correct amount of storage needed.

Patricia Birley, Director of The Roman Vindolanda Trust, said: “With so many precious artefacts housed in the building, flooding was a great concern to us and we are all very pleased and relieved that the attenuation tank from Marley is having such a marked effect.”

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