The Čačak-based AkvaPan remains unharmed by the devastating floods: owing to forward thinking, the company avoided major damage and loss.

Although completely surrounded by floodwater, the Čačak-based AkvaPan avoided actual flooding of its site in Vranići, owing to the efficient drainage pre-treatment of the ground at the lot where the facility is located.

The owner of the company, Dragan Pantović, says that during the construction works at the facility it was established that the soil quality was rather poor and with a high content of clay, which was an indication of a possible major risk of flooding in the event of extreme rainfall. It was for this reason that a large layer of surface soil 3 meters thick was completely replaced, and special attention was paid to proper drainage of the site.

“We defended the site from the waters of the Čemernica river using sacks filled with sand. On the other side, the water which was flowing from the surrounding hills could not produce any real damage owing to the protection we had introduced 15years earlier, during the construction of the facility, when the complete surface layer of the ground was replaced. Having realised the potential danger posed by the clay ground, we decided to replace the whole surface layer, creating a fully permeable base for our facility, so that all of the incoming water was channelled along the routes we had created with our drainage,” said Mr Pantović.

Although located on an elevated plateau, the  AkvaPan facility had to be defended from the nearby river of Čemernica, using sand-filled sacks provided by the local administration. Dragan Pantović explains that the initial investment was large, but nonetheless had paid off fully, considering the damage which was prevented in the floods in 2014 and 2016.

“Professional know-how has to be given due respect. The initial investment was huge, we had to bring in and lay thousands of tons of crushed stone, creating the drainage system underneath our facility. We can now say that this investment paid off, especially since it is not possible to move out the heavy machinery within any reasonably short amount of time. We were surrounded with water, but there was no risk of the facility being flooded,” says Mr Pantović.

He went on to say that although his method of fighting floods may not be a universal solution for ever company, professional now-how ought to be given due respect.

“Each company is unique in this respect, and it not our intention to give advice to anyone. However, we do not seem to have learned a lesson after the 2014 flood, and we sort of decided that the disaster would not strike again. Despite this, only two years later, it happened again, and if we do not take measures, it will happen again.

Founded in 1993, AkvaPan is one of the most successful companies in the city and the region. It employs 80 workers, with plans for further expansion of the production.