Soil Remediation

Cleaning up the Avenue Coking Works

Apr 01 2010

Author: Philip Norville

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In September 2009 the remediation of the Avenue Coking Works in Derbyshire, England, started in earnest. Within sight of Chesterfield’s famous crooked spire is the former Avenue coking works often tagged as one of Europe’s most contaminated sites. VSD – a consortia of Volker Stevin, Sita Remediation and specialist environmental contractor DEC – will tackle the many challenges its remediation poses and return the remediated site to the local community as a multi use facility.

The Avenue site is without argument a very heavily contaminated and very large parcel of land with many complex issues affecting it. The Derbyshire site covers over 98 hectares and is bounded by the river Rother, the Midland Mainline London to Sheffield high speed rail line and the A61.

During its working life the site was host to many industrial uses, primarily the coking works but also including a large chemical plant and liquor by products works. In addition to these ancillary facilities there was also a large rail head on site, a hazardous waste tip and two large contaminated silt lagoons.

The last operating industry on the site was the coking works which ceased production in 1992. The forerunners to the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) inherited the site following the closure and a lengthy process to return the site to the community began. Steve Collins of the HCA describes receiving the site as ‘inheriting an abandoned site’. The works were handed over with the entire necessary infrastructure remaining in place. This included the buildings, the chemical tanks, pipework, sumps, gantries, waste tip and contaminated lagoons left as they were.

The reclamation and remediation is being funded by the HCA through the National Coalfields Program. The site remains owned by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) who is acting as delivery agent for the project. This redevelopment process started as early as 1999 with the emptying of the above ground storage tanks and the dismantling and demolition of the above ground infrastructure and buildings. The site was razed but was left with a host of contamination problems below ground including the remaining sub surface infrastructure and contaminated soil and groundwater still needing to be remediated.

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