The site for a new training facility for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services was heavily contaminated. From its earliest inception as a paper mill through to hosting a bleach works, pump house and even operating as a canal, the site had endured severe conditions and toxins were widespread and persistent. The client, Kier Construction, hired RSK as an environmental consultant and to develop remediation strategies to combat asbestos-contaminated soil.
RSK specialists identified asbestos-contaminated material, including deadly white and brown asbestos, a known carcinogen, and Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam, all invasive species that are either deadly to humans or other native fauna. The team also pinpointed several hydrocarbon hot spots. RSK’s remediation strategies needed to be diverse and fast acting.
The fauna expert treated the invasive species successfully, leaving the teams to launch a two-pronged attack on the hydrocarbon hotspots and asbestos-contaminated areas. After remediating the hydrocarbon, a team tested the soil and groundwater to confirm that conditions improved. Once testing proved conclusive, RSK companies combined to begin work on a full remediation programme for the widespread asbestos contamination.
Using in-house specialists and its UKAS- and MCERTS-accredited chemical laboratory, RSK remediated 64,000 m3 of asbestos-contaminated soil and reused 48,000 m3 as engineering fill and construction capping. About 16,000 m3 were used at depth and only 16,000 m3 of hazardous material were disposed off site. RSK’s informed remediation design, in compliance with the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations, saved the client about £4 million.
RSK remains the project’s environmental consultant and frequently attends the site to address environmental issues and perform validation sampling of imported material for soft landscaping areas.