Contaminated soil stored at airport to be disposed of

SOIL that was contaminated with firefighting foam PFOS could finally be disposed of.

Digging out the PFOS infected earth from the site of the 1999 plane crash on Forest Road. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31713967)
Digging out the PFOS infected earth from the site of the 1999 plane crash on Forest Road. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31713967)

A specialist contractor is being sought to deal with the soil, which is contained in a mound at the airport.

The foam had been in use since the 1970s until 2002, which included in training and at incidents, like the crash of a cargo plane along Forest Road in 1999.

It was not until 2007 that guidance of acceptable levels of PFOS in ground water were published.

In 2009, the chemical was found in a stream running into St Saviour’s reservoir, but islanders were advised local water was safe.

In 2012, some 13,000 tonnes of contaminated soil was excavated from the airfield during reconstruction works to the runway, aprons and drainage.

The soil has since been securely contained in a grass mound next to the main car park so further chemicals are not released into water supplies.

The States’ Trading Supervisory Board is now inviting contractor applications to treat and dispose of the contaminated soil in the mound.

‘The cells have a 25-year design life and are routinely monitored to ensure that the soils remain securely contained,’ said Ben Le Huray, Guernsey Ports’ chief commercial and infrastructure officer.

‘It has always been our intention to remediate the impacted soils within this 25-year period, in order to help safeguard water quality for current and future generations.’

A smaller containment cell was created next to the main one in 2015, to store some 2,500 tonnes of PFOS contaminated soil excavated from a field on Forest Road, following the 1999 crash.

Both cells are under a waste management licence regulated by the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation.

The first lot involves the safe excavation and transportation of the contaminated soils to a UK or European port.

The second involves the collection of the contaminated soils from that port and their onward remediation at a specialist facility.

A local contractor is expected to be appointed to deliver the first lot.

All appropriate environmental controls for the safe management of disturbed soils, leachate and run-off will be required, including the provision of decontamination areas for equipment and workers.

Interested parties can complete an initial pre-qualification questionnaire and will have until 17 February to respond.

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