London Olympic Park Environmental Cleanup Uses Bioremediation Technology from REGENESIS to Expedite Development
The July 17 opening of London’s £7-billion 2012 Olympic Park, with its 16 new major stadia and other sports facilities, also marks the successful conclusion of one of the world’s largest brownfield regeneration projects in recent years. This Olympic-sized cleanup included the remediation and redevelopment of more than 200 hectares (500 acres) of former industrial land where previous uses such as chemical and fertilizer works, landfills and depots had left a legacy of severe soil and groundwater contamination.
Among the new facilities, the Zaha Hadid-designed London Aquatics Centre (LAC) is one of the most conspicuous, being one of most prominent of the “green” buildings in the new complex as well as the first structure most visitors will see as they approach the Olympic Park. As a brownfield redevelopment project, the Aquatics Centre also presented a significant remediation challenge, being located on a former industrial site and contaminated with lubricating oil, a difficult-to-remove light, non-aqueous phase liquid or LNAPL. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) set strict deadlines for all Olympic facility construction projects, and the subsurface foundations for the LAC were to be completed by July 27, 2009, exactly three years before opening day.
Subsoil remediation for the Aquatic Centre site began in November 2007, using dual-phase vacuum extraction (DPVE) to remove the LNAPL. But with construction slated to start the following April, it was clear that DPVE alone would not be sufficient to remediate the dissolved-phase hydrocarbon plume. An in situ solution became the only viable option.
In situ enhanced bioremediation, a widely accepted and well-understood natural biodegradation process, was chosen to clean up this portion of the site. This approach utilizes indigenous microbes to aerobically biodegrade petroleum hydrocarbons in-place. The actual process is facilitated using an injectable, REGENESIS’ Advanced Oxygen Release Compound (ORC Advanced®). Upon hydration and injection, this powder-like material accelerates aerobic bioremediation by releasing molecular dissolved oxygen for periods up to 12 months on a single application. Without this valuable oxygen supply, the required aerobic bioremediation processes either cease or proceed at very slow rates.
The patented Controlled-Release Technology (CRT) in ORC Advanced allows for an efficient, long-term release of oxygen which provides optimal conditions for sustained aerobic biodegradation. CRT also saves time and money during implementation by eliminating the need for multiple oxygen release compound applications.
Additionally, ORC Advanced® was applied at the LAC site using direct-push injection. This application approach is highly efficient as it requires no permanent well installation, above-ground piping or mechanical equipment and after application, no operational costs or further site disturbance.
The remedial objectives for the Aquatics Centre site were quickly satisfied, and the approach was so successful that construction was able to start not only within ODA’s deadline, but months ahead of schedule and without hindrance from the ongoing remedial work.