Maesteg washery gets cleaned-up

The £10 million Maesteg Washery Land Reclamation Scheme, which is funded mainly by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) is transforming a former coal and iron industry site to provide a new comprehensive school and sports fields, in addition to areas set aside for new housing development.

Over 150 years of a variety of industrial use at the washery site has left a legacy of numerous waste tips and areas of contamination, along with substantial mineworkings, which have left substantial voids beneath the surface.

The local authority, Bridgend County Borough Council, is making the area safe and the ground suitable for redevelopment in the largest land reclamation scheme it has undertaken. Contractor for the reclamation project is Edmund Nuttall Ltd.

The site comprises an area of approximately 150 hectares substantially of derelict industrial land. The reclamation project requires the construction of two plateaus to support the future development. The total area of the plateaus is approximately 17 hectares. The site will be reclaimed by grout treatment of the coal and iron workings, earthworks to form the new plateaus by excavation and recompaction of fill, treatment of mine entrances and adits and extensive reproofing, landscaping and treatment of contaminated land over the remainder of the site.

Remediation of contaminated land, including sulphides, sulphates, hydrocarbons, landfill and old coke and iron workings involves approximately 160,000m3.

Specific contamination quantities on the site are: sulphate contaminated soil, 36,000m3; sulphide contaminated soil, 120,000m3; hydrocarbon treatment by bioremediation totalling 5,000m3, with landfill site treatment running to 35,000m3.

Knotty problem

A major consideration in regenerating the Maesteg site is tackling widespread infestation of the area by Japanese Knotweed. To ensure that the site is cleared of the notorious plant some 55,000 m3 of contaminated soil will be excavated and 20,000m2 will be spray treated.

The Knotweed is being excavated and disposed of during the main works. The extent of the excavation will be seven metres radius from the plant stems to a depth of three metres.

Areas where the Knotweed has been present will be monitored for any potential regrowth and treated as necessary.

Material within the former landfill area which has been identified as suitable for recycling will be recovered for re-use on site. Once processed, suitable material will be used within the works and unsuitable soils either disposed to one of the fill areas on site or disposed of off site to a licensed landfill.

A feature of the Maesteg Washery Regeneration Scheme is the close liaison between client Bridgend County Borough Council and contractor Edmund Nuttall who have combined to ensure that the local community is kept fully informed of progress on the project.

Bridgend CBC produces a newsletter, In Touch, to keep all residents of Maesteg up-to-date with redevelopments in the town, which featured the regeneration scheme in a recent edition. Residents can also keep abreast with progress on the site by viewing the project webcam. There was also a washery site family open day held last month.

On the environmental front Edmund Nuttall has appointed an environmental co-ordinator as part of the project team to make sure that all environmental statutory regulations and guidelines are complied with during the works.

Environmental measures adopted on site include washing down the fleet of earthmovers employed on the project, which involves bulk earthworks excavation and fill totalling 1.3 million m3, to prevent contamination, and preparing a pond for the translocation of newts which may be found within the site.

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