Conference clears up landfill for remediators

Although it has been two years since the introduction of the Landfill Directive companies working to clean up sites can be forgiven for feeling swamped by the constantly evolving regulations.

In a policy briefing at the NEC's International Clean Up (ICU) exhibition on Tuesday Stuart Arch, director at the WorleyParsons Komex consultancy, outline the state of the market.

"Since July 2004 when the first phase of the landfill directive impacted on us the contaminated land industry has been in flux," he said.

"There are periods that have been very hectic as everyone rushes to comply with impending regulations and periods of drought when nothing much seems to be happening and there's not always enough work to go around.

"We've seen landfill gates prices increase by 200 to 300 per cent, then they've slumped again as demand for hazardous waste landfill space dropped.

"In this turbulent period we've seen momentum build behind technology-based remediation methods and costs of technological treatments as an alternative to landfill have fallen.

"Now two years on things should be settling down, however I still see all the time confusion and lack of understanding about the Landfill Directive."

The following session saw a contingent of high-profile speakers cutting through the fog that still surrounds the directive, followed by a lively question and answer session allowing delegates to quiz the experts on their own particular concerns.

The Environment Agency's hazardous waste policy advisor Helen Ahmed described how the watchdog was in the process of updating its guidance on hazardous waste, with a particular focus on disposing of contaminated soils.

Consultants from Augean, Golder Associates and Hyder Consulting then gave a more detailed analysis of developments at the cutting edge of the industry.

Delegates heard about the common problems involved in remediating soils - and how to deal with them - as well as how best to go about assessing whether a soil was indeed hazardous.

They also learned of the impacts of alternative technologies in the remediation sector before the session closed with a panel discussion and question and answer session.

Sam Bond



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