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A look at some of the more unusual projects recently carried out by REMONDIS Industrie Service and its sister companies show just how important their work is – also when it collaborates with local authorities. RIS’ branch in Trier recently had to deal with a potentially hazardous material that proved to be a real challenge.
The authorities and environmental agencies there had spent over a year looking for a company that was capable of professionally managing the collection and disposal of 100 tonnes of earth that was presumed to be contaminated with anthrax. Having received an enquiry from the authorities, RIS’ branch sat down with REMONDIS Medison GmbH, Buchen Umweltservice, Rhenus Logistics and TRV Wesseling (hazardous waste incineration plant) to draw up a suitable waste management concept. They were, therefore, able to find an answer to the problem within no time at all – a problem that had, for a long time, appeared to be impossible to solve.
How though had the anthrax spores got into the earth in the first place? Generally speaking, there is always a risk that any land, which has been used for centuries by businesses to process animal by-products such as hides, may be infected with this dangerous pathogen. In the case in question, an old tanning pit had to be dug up and removed from the grounds of an old tannery. This pit had been used to tan animal hides with bark to produce leather for shoes and clothes. The surrounding area had also been contaminated by the contents of the pit so there was also the danger that anthrax spores were present there, too.
Anthrax in the ground – a danger that is widely underrated.
Anthrax is an often fatal infectious disease that primarily affects cloven-hoofed animals. It can, however, also be transmitted to humans. Last century, some countries even developed biological weapons containing anthrax bacteria. The problem: if the spores are in the right environment, they can survive for over 100 years without a host.t is, therefore, extremely difficult to handle such potentially dangerous projects as they require specialist procedures and stringent safety measures.
The work was carried out in a concerted action – from excavating the earth in a hermetically sealed area, to transporting it, all the way through to incinerating it
An obvious case for the specialists from RIS, BUCHEN, Rhenus (for the transport), Medison and TRV Thermische Rückstandsverwertung in Wesseling. Alexander Kleer from REMONDIS Industrie Service was responsible for coordinating the work. He and his team dealt with all the organisational details – from the acquisition, to the selection of the team members, all the way through to purchasing, output, logistics, the electronic records procedure and managing the actual operations. Wearing full body protection, the operatives packed the infectious waste in special 50l - 120l containers in a special decontamination tent provided by Buchen Umweltservice and then sent it to be disposed of at the hazardous waste incineration plant, TRV. All in all, the company filled 4,410 containers which had been supplied by REMONDIS Medison. Rhenus Logistics ensured the infectious waste was transported safely to the plant, a routine task for the company. Thanks to REMONDIS, the land is completely safe again and can once again be put to good use.
In September 2016, a pile of illegal waste was discovered in a warehouse in Kreuztal-Eichen in the Siegerland region on the grounds of an old electroplating business that had gone bankrupt. Not only had the warehouse not been approved for storing waste, the waste had also been placed in containers that were not fit for purpose. These comprised approx. 350 plastic IBC containers that may only be used for transporting dangerous substances for a maximum five years after their date of manufacture. The ca. 250m³ of chrome and nickel-contaminated rinsing water and 60m³ of old acids were in plastic containers that were older than five years, which meant they were no longer leak proof. The warehouse, therefore, had to be cleared out as quickly as possible as its floor had not been adequately sealed and there was real danger of the soil and groundwater becoming contaminated.
“Everything was removed without a problem”,
confirmed both the Arnsberg regional authorities and Dr Arnold Feldmann, Branch Manager REMONDIS Industrie Service Lennestadt
The Arnsberg regional authorities took immediate action to make the area safe and draw up a waste management concept together with the VÜA, an association responsible for monitoring technical facilities. Having put the project out to tender, they then awarded the contract to REMONDIS Industrie Service at the end of February 2017, as they had been impressed by both their concept and the cost effectiveness and scheduling of the work involved. The illegal waste store was removed by REMONDIS Industrie Service with the help of its subsidiary, SUC, in April – according to plan and within schedule.
Stringent safety levels, cost effectiveness and quick reactions are all decisive factors.
As the majority of the containers could no longer be transported by road, a vacuum truck was called in to remove their contents. Sealed surfaces were installed both inside and outside the warehouse and additional protection added around the hose of the vacuum truck to ensure the highest safety levels were in place. “Everything was removed without a problem,” confirmed both the Arnsberg regional authorities and Dr Arnold Feldmann, branch manager. The company was able to complete the work exactly as planned, within budget and according to schedule. The temporary sealed surfaces have now also been removed from the site.