HomeNewsContractors move on site to clean up former Chesterfield Coking Works

Contractors move on site to clean up former Chesterfield Coking Works

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Work has now started to clean up the former Avenue Coking Works in Wingerworth, near Chesterfield. VSD Avenue, the consortium of specialist contractors appointed by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) to carry out the work, have moved onto site and are now preparing for the remediation of the 98 hectare area to start in earnest.
Over the first 12 months, VSD Avenue - a fully integrated joint venture consisting of civil engineering contractor VolkerStevin Ltd, DEME environmental contractors (DEC) NV and SITA Remediation BV - will be carrying out the following key activities:
  • design and manufacture of the thermal plant - the major piece of kit on site that will be used to treat some of the most heavily contaminated materials; 
  • construction of a waste tip processing area where waste materials will be sorted and processed;
  • building a new water plant which will treat the contaminated lagoons;
  • constructing a sheet pile wall to protect the lagoon excavations in the event of flooding across the flood plain;
  • diverting the river Rother so the remediation team can clean up the flood plain;
  • general preparations for the start of the digging up of the site in spring / summer 2010.

Mike Fenton, emda's Project Director for The Avenue said: "This is a real milestone for the project and it's great to have VSD on board. It's going to be a challenging and exciting time for all involved in the clean-up but we are confident that the time taken to carry out extensive trials and to plan the safe remediation strategy will pay dividends as work progresses."

VSD Avenue will use techniques that haven't been used in the UK on such a large scale before. These include:

  • thermal desorption - a process which uses heat to destroy contamination;
  • bioremediation - where natural microbiological processes are used to ‘degrade' or break down contaminants;
  • complex sorting and soil washing - an approach which sees the contaminated materials go through a series of dry screening and ‘wet' separation processes;
  • water treatment plant - a bespoke plant that will be used to treat the contaminated water.

As Marcus Foweather, Project Director at VSD Avenue, explained: "This is one of the most complex civil engineering remediation schemes in Europe and we have worked hard to make sure the remediation works set new standards and provide a benchmark for other heavily contaminated sites. It incorporates some exciting techniques using state of the art technology, whilst focusing on sustainability and environmental issues."

The regeneration of the former industrial site will take around four years to complete. It will involve the excavation of over two million cubic metres of material, including the clean up of two silt lagoons, a registered asbestos containing waste tip and ground pollution caused by heavy metals and waste chemicals. A commitment by the project team to sustainable regeneration will ensure that almost all of the treated material will be reused on the site.

Upon completion, the remediation of the Avenue Coking Works will provide an area of mixed use development land with the remaining land being landscaped to provide new public open space, new wildlife habitats and sporting facilities. It is costing £172.3m to deliver the wider Avenue project, which forms part of the Homes and Communities Agency's (HCA's) National Coalfield Programme.

Anthony Sowden, HCA Senior Regeneration Manager, said: "Avenue Coking Works represents one of the most significant remediation projects in the UK. Through the National Coalfields Programme the Homes and Communities Agency and our partners emda and VSD are committed to delivering high quality, sustainable regeneration at the Works that will be an exemplar for the future. Getting the project this far is testament to the commitment and hard work of all partners and it is fantastic to see the work now underway."

For regular updates, visit www.theavenueproject.co.uk

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