What House 2015 Awards

Q Developments, Teddington
Q Developments, Teddington

As the rest of the world turns it attention to Hollywood and the Oscars, we’ve been focused on the only marginally less high-profile What House Awards. One of our clients, Q Developments, picked up two awards, one of which was for their development of a former filling station site in Teddington. We’re very proud to be able to say that we played our part in this project for Q Developments, having undertaken the decommissioning and removing the former petroleum installation and the treatment of hydrocarbon and asbestos-related soil contamination prior to the site’s residential redevelopment. Our congratulations to Q Developments on their award.

Has the Weather Turned?

Remediation Underway
Remediation Underway

Autumn seems to have arrived with a vengeance. Grey, wet and windy seems to be the order of the day here in the UK. But not for one of our Consultants, who has been spending his time in Haifa, Israel, carrying out an independent review of Israel’s largest remediation project.

We were called in by the Israeli NGO to review a complex remediation project to clean up the historically polluted Kishon River. Silt and sediment dredged from the river is being treated to remove contaminants that have accumulated over decades as a result of effluent discharges from the heavy industries lining the river bank. The treated soil will eventually be used to create a nature reserve and public park. The remediation processes include water treatment using nitrification/denitrification and soil treatment using biopiling and winrows. Soil and water samples are analysed in a sophisticated on site laboratory, allowing progress to be accurately monitored.

We were able to apply our expertise in both remediation and laboratory operations to provide the client with a number of suggested improvements to the project. Getting a sun tan didn’t hurt either!

Are Subadra as Cool as CSI?

The Subadra Team?
The Subadra Team?

Ok, that claim may be stretching things a little, but our forensic analysis team have recently notched up a few notable successes. We were awarded a contract to treat petrol and diesel contamination in the soil and groundwater under a filling station. The site had a history of leaks, the most recent of which was six years ago. Since then one of our competitors had been trying (and failing) to clean the site up.

We were brought in to deal with the contamination once and for all. The first thing we did was to carry out some forensic analysis of the contamination using proprietary methods we have developed over the last 20 years. Our analysis indicated that there was an ongoing leak at the site, and was even able to pinpoint where on the site it was likely to be.

Our client commissioned precision tank and line testing which confirmed a slow leak under pump island 7 – just where we had predicted. The rate of leak – 0.29litres/hour – was actually below the precision testing threshold, meaning that the fuel lines passed the test and were certified as ‘not leaking’. However, this rate of leak would result in around 2,500litres of fuel entering the ground under the site each year – more than enough to cause serious contamination.

So the lessons learnt? Firstly, tank and line testing is very far from foolproof and fails to identify leaks that can cause serious environmental issues. Secondly, the timely use of forensic analysis can prevent significant time and money being wasted on ineffective remediation work.

For further information on our forensic analysis capabilities please contact Duncan Eastland or Kate Clark.

New ICP Goes Online

New ICP
New ICP

Friday 12th June was a red letter day here at Subadra. For a little while now we’ve had a mysterious large box sat in a room on its own in our laboratory. As the weeks have passed, we’ve seen cables, pipes and tubes connected, forced ventilation and cooling added and finally an argon supply plumbed in. Then finally all was revealed as our new ICP was commissioned.

For those not familiar with laboratory acronyms, ICP stands for Inductively Coupled Plasma Instrument. We’ll be using this to analyse soil and water samples for metals. In addition it will be playing a key part in ensuring we continue to offer the fastest waste classification service (or WAC as its known) in the UK.

Greek Myth?

Comacchio Drill Rig
Comacchio Drill Rig

Actually, there is nothing mythical about Subadra being commissioned to install shallow monitoring wells at the Daedalus Airfield Development! We constructed several shallow wells over the course of two days using our Hollow Stem Auger drilling system.

Lee-on-Solent is known for its sand and a dense gravels which are more or less guaranteed to make drilling difficult. So to avoid this we used our powerful Comacchio drilling rig which ensure we reached the target depth at all the drilling locations with minimal disruption to the site. We then installed 50mm diameter wells to allow future groundwater sampling. All our materials were sourced locally to enable us to take the minimum of equipment and vehicles thus reducing our carbon footprint for the works.

We even had time to the collect soil samples for the Principal Contractor and get them
analysed for WAC by our in house lab facility. As a result of our prompt and efficient service the client retained us to carry out a more detailed geotechnical investigation at the site. No myth there then!

Better than Burgundy?

SnailsOne of the things we like about our business is the sheer variety of enquiries that we receive. We’ve been to some fairly strange places and asked to do some fairly odd things, but when we were asked to carry out soil testing at a snail farm it was a first for us.

Unknown to us Aylesbury Escargots, the UK’s largest producer of Helix Aspersa/Gros Gris – otherwise known as edible snails – , is located just down the road from our offices. They have pioneered a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach to snail farming and now produce over 5 tonnes per year. We reckon their snails are more than a match for anything produced in the traditional French centre of escargot farming in Burgundy.

Now, if only we could make better wine than Burgundy as well…..

Big Old Tanks

USTsHave you ever wondered what is below your feet when you’re filling up at a petrol station? Big old tanks, that’s what! We’ve investigated the ground at more filling stations in the UK than anyone else and so, not surprisingly, we have a have a pretty detailed understanding of how they are put together. This sort of experience is invaluable when
it comes to assessing potential environmental risk – we know how and where problems
can occur…

Obviously owning our own specialist drilling systems, UKAS and MCerts accedited
laboratory and remediation equipment also has benefits, both in terms of cost and speed of turnaround.

For pragmatic advice and cost effective assessment strategies for the assessment
of filling station sites please contact James Skinner on 07770 611554.

When You Need to Know Fast

Groundwater ProbingOur Geoprobe Drilling Systems offer something a little special when it comes to rapidly investigating a site. And when coupled with the fast turnaround from our UKAS and MCerts laboratory, our clients benefit from the best of all worlds.

We were asked to investigate a large industrial site that had a history of fuel contamination issues. The question was: how far had the contamination spread and was it migrating under the neighbouring properties. Our solution was to carry out a groundwater probing survey, comprising driving a re-useable probe into the ground to the underlying groundwater and then taking a sample of the groundwater for laboratory analysis.

We completed 54 probes in two days, accurately delineating the hydrocarbon plume. Forensic analysis of the samples by our laboratory then confirmed that there were three separate sources of the hydrocarbons, two of which were ongoing leaks, and not just the one known historic source.

We now know what the problems are, how far the contamination has spread and how to clean it up. Isn’t that better than endless phases of investigation last months and costing £££s.

Project value: £10-£15k

Tight Access for Investigation

TerrierWe have recently completed an incident response investigation of a domestic heating oil installation located at the centre of a residential accommodation block complex in southern England. The site overlies chalk and is located just 100m from a public drinking water supply borehole.

Following complaints of possible oil contamination issues from the residents we took samples of the underlying soils and audited the fuel installation. With only footpaths leading to the tank installation we used our Terrier drilling system – which can fit through a standard doorway – to install boreholes either side of the oil tank and take soil samples for rapid analysis in our UKAS laboratory. Fortunately no significant soil contamination had occurred and our recommended improvements to the installation are now underway. The entire project, from initial enquiry instruction to report issue, was completed in under 4 days.

Project value ~£2k. Client value £££

Groundwater Treatment at Major Airport

Airport Remediation
Groundwater Treatment in Place

We have recently been appointed to carry out long-term treatment to remove a range of contaminants, including Jet-A1, glycol and iron, from dewatering effluent at a major airport in southern England. Key to our success in winning the work was:

a) Our ability to deliver a modular treatment system that could be dismantled, moved and reassembled quickly and easily to suit construction activities;

b) Our in-house laboratory’s fast analysis turnaround ensuring early confirmation that discharge consent limits are not being exceeded.

For more information please contact James Skinner.

Contract Duration: 12-18 months      Contract value: £100-£250k