Ground trial

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Engineers are trialling a technique to clean up an area of highly contaminated soil in Shawfield, Glasgow.

Ground engineering specialists from Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering (BBGE) were appointed by engineering and environmental consultants, the URS Corporation, to conduct the trial.

The project will test the use of calcium polysulfide, a chemical from the agricultural industry, as a way of remediating land contaminated with Chromite Ore Processing Residue, a problem found in many former industrial locations around the world.

The residue contains the highly toxic chromium Cr(VI). Traditional methods of remediating Cr(VI) contaminated land have had limited success in converting the chemical to the less harmful Cr(III).

If successful, the BBGE trial could have significant implications for the remediation of Cr(VI) contaminated land worldwide. The project is being observed by the environmental think-tank CL:AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments).

‘As far as I am aware, this is the first time this method has been trialled in the UK and it has huge potential for our industry if it goes well,’ said Ian Gatenby, geoenvironmental director for BBGE.

URS is developing the remediation strategy for Shawfield on behalf of the Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company, a 20-year, multi-million pound partnership involving Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, with funding from the Scottish government.

BBGE’s ground improvement company, Pennine, will carry out the test on the Shawfield site. Using a modified Wolton rotary rig, they will bore 10m deep into the ground and simultaneously inject and mix the calcium polysulfide within a representative test area of contaminated soil.

URS will take before and after samples from the soil and Pennine will sample the ground water as part of the project’s evaluation.