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    Reviewing, investigating and recommending remediation options in Abu Dhabi, UAE

    When decommissioning an oil refinery, a key part of the process to be considered and planned for is potential land and groundwater contamination. For this reason, in the spring of 2020, RSK’s Middle East team was commissioned to carry out a desk study, site investigation, environmental assessment and remediation study for an operational oil refinery in the city of Abu Dhabi. The project involved a comprehensive assessment regarding the presence of potential land and groundwater contamination, identifying and assessing the remediation options and associated costs, and recommending preferred remediation options as part of the decommissioning of the refinery.

    The desk study reviewed previous site investigation reports, satellite images, publicly available information and details of historical remediation efforts, and identified several potential sources of contamination and areas of soil and groundwater hydrocarbon contamination.

    Working collaboratively with the client and the facility’s operating company, RSK designed a site investigation that met local environment agency regulations and guidance as well as international best practice. The investigation involved 95 exploratory hole locations, 29 of which were installed as monitoring wells for groundwater monitoring and sampling.

    This project had to overcome many challenges, including summer temperatures as high as 45°C, additional risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of working on an active refinery.

    The site investigation identified the presence of hydrocarbon contamination and defined the extent of the light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) at the location. As a result, a primary remediation target was set: the stabilisation and/or removal of the LNAPL sources beneath the site until the potential risks to future site users are either eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels. Roughly 20 options were considered; the final report recommended using excavation with thermal treatment. Although it was the most expensive choice presented, it was recommended because it was the most reliable, robust and time-effective option.

    Through hard work and determination, the team was able to complete the required scope and submit the findings to the client within the specified timescale and budget.

    • Location: Abu Dhabi
    • Project status: Completed
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