Tunnelling waste management guide

The UK Pipe Jacking Association has issued a guide to regulatory compliance for the management of process arisings from tunnels and other earthworks.

The report was prepared by Beyond Waste in association with Environmental Geotechnics and commissioned by the Pipe Jacking and Tunnelling Research Group.

This guide is intended to provide the pipe jacking and tunnelling community with guidance on the management of materials arising from the pipe jacking and tunnelling processes. The main audience of the report is the community itself – to ensure compliance with the diverse regulatory requirements relating to management of material when it becomes waste, and importantly also to encourage the community to think about how waste produced from their activities might be minimised. The guide may be of wider interest to other disciplines in the construction and demolition field as well as the regulatory bodies themselves.

Escalating price

The stage-wise implementation of the EU Landfill Directive, with its progressive ban on the disposal of liquid wastes to landfill, coupled with the escalating price of landfill is acting as a catalyst to change management practices. Under the directive, disposal of hazardous liquid waste to landfill is now banned and disposal of all liquids to landfill will be banned by 2008.

If any spoil is so wet as to be classified as liquid then disposal to landfill will not be permitted. If cement or similar materials are added to wet arisings to solidify them, it is necessary to consider whether the elevation of pH could render the resulting material a hazardous waste.

This report is a response from the pipe jacking and tunnelling industries to the challenge of the directive. Its primary purpose is to set out the legislation relating to the management of arisings from tunnelling works. To provide a context, the report first develops estimates of the annual quantities of arisings from the two main types of tunnelling procedure used for pipe jacking, slurry tunnelling and earth pressure balance tunnelling.

Indicative moisture contents of the arisings are also developed. The materials contain significantly more water than would be present in an in-situ soil – thus making them potentially difficult to manage. The quantities of arisings from pipe-jacking operations are shown to be very small from a UK perspective and indeed, even if they were all regarded as waste, they would represent just 0.05% of waste produced by construction and demolition activities when compared with national

arisings data.

The report then addresses the current legislative framework for management of materials that may be deemed to be waste.

It highlights opportunities and threats to the industry and lays out a route map to take producers through the complex web of legislation to achieve regulatory compliance.

Tel: 0845 0705201


Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie