Heavy rains together with several breaks in RHONE River dikes caused the flooding of a warehouse containing agro-pharmaceutical products on 4th December.
The building housed 3 storage cells 480 m² in size, each capable of containing 330 tonnes of merchandise over a 7-m height (4 or 5 rack levels). The floor of each cell was impermeable to fire extinction water. Despite electric and phone lines being down, the warehouse operator could still be reached by cell phone. The water level climbed to the 90-cm mark in the storage cells, which acted like retention basins; the operator ordered all accumulated water to be pumped out. Property damage was estimated at 120,000 (including floor and wall repairs, furnishings, damage to phytosanitary products). No notable environmental impacts were recorded; when rising water was announced on 3rd December, the operator had moved the most sensitive products 3 m above ground.
The Classified Facilities Inspectorate requested that the operator: verify electrical installations and all vital safety equipment prior to any resumption of activity; incorporate into the safety management system (SMS) those site safety procedures specific to the flood risk; add the flood scenario to the internal emergency plan. On his own, the operator: raised the facility’s electric installations by the height of the observed water level; modified storage management practices such that the most humidity-sensitive products were placed aboveground; sealed all 3 storage cells by applying resin even though the floor had not been damaged.