The contract, estimated to be worth around £250,000, was awarded by VolkerFitzpatrick, the scheme’s appointed main contractor, and saw ESG establish both a mobile chemical analysis and a materials testing laboratory on site.
The Watford Health Campus scheme will transform the area around Watford Hospital and includes a new road and plans for commercial facilities and 750 homes, which will provide up to 1,300 jobs over the next 20 years. The development site was previously occupied by two power stations, railway lines, a sewage works, as well as other industrial facilities. This resulted in the presence of contaminated soils within the area, which is sensitive due to its proximity to drinking water wells.
ESG carried out testing services on the site of the new road and advised VolkerFitzpatrick on the remediation and reuse potential of any excavated contaminated soil. Other services provided by the company included helping track excavated material movements as well as sampling and off site contamination analysis.
The mobile laboratory service allows ESG to rapidly test and classify soil samples on site, significantly reducing analysis turnaround times and allowing for a more detailed understanding of contamination on site. ESG also established an on-site materials testing laboratory for the geotechnical classification of soils used in the construction of the road.
Paul Tilley, operations director, Infrastructure Services, ESG, said: “The development of brownfield sites is an excellent opportunity within the construction and infrastructure sectors, but the likely presence of contaminated soils poses a significant challenge that ESG is well placed to meet. Former industrial sites are often affected by hazardous chemicals which must be appropriately treated or disposed of before construction work can begin.
“ESG understands the challenges faced by developers and contractors working on brownfield sites, and works to minimise the cost impact to projects, ensuring that as much contaminated soil can be cleaned and reused as possible and that environmental risks are effectively managed.”
Tenniel Souter, remediation agent, VolkerFitzpatrick said: “An initial survey of the Watford Health Campus site revealed the potential for high levels of contamination in soils that would not be suitable for reuse and therefore would require specialist treatment and disposal. By carrying out further detailed risk assessments and using advanced mapping and 3D visualisation of the precise areas of contamination, ESG were able to provide new criteria for soil reuse. This in turn increased the potential for savings both in terms of time and cost.
“Furthermore, ESG’s ability to set up mobile labs on site means that any excavated material suspected to contain hazardous substances can be dealt with quickly and effectively, which helped keep the project on schedule.”