MOD Bessbrook
Written by Administrator
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 16:07


Land sequestered by the MoD in the 1970’s for base expansion due to the conflict is gradually being returned to the original owners as part of the peace process. The site at Bessbrook was one of the main helicopter bases in South Armagh.

Over time, spills of aviation fuel had contaminated the ground beyond the concrete helicopter landing pads presenting a potential legacy of pollution for future site users. As part of the handover, the MoD sought to remediate the site to facilitate future agriculture or development. Practical Waste was commissioned by the main demolition contractor on the site to undertake the remediation process and clean the site to standards set by the client’s environmental consultants.



Having identified the hydrocarbon polluted hotspots on the site, Practical Waste transferred the heavily contaminated soils to the concrete bases of the helipads for treatment. Our bioremediation process involved the stimulation of naturally occurring microbes in the soil to metabolise the polluting hydrocarbons to harmless products such as carbon dioxide and water. The catalyst for this process was the addition of nutrients to the contaminated soils from an organic substrate. The two were mixed on the concrete pads to ensure even coverage throughout the contaminated mass.

Careful management of the liquid discharge was essential given the proximity of a stream at the site boundary which presented a pathway to offsite receptors for contamination. Runoff from the treatment process was channelled through oil water separation plant prior to discharge. Field monitoring equipment was deployed daily to record temperature and fuel vapours from the mass to gauge progress of the degradation process against the client schedule.


Agreed target values for remediation achieved within the timetable
Thousands of tonnes of contaminated soils remediated and reinstated thus avoiding landfill
Site affected by man made activity restored to former standard suitable for future agriculture or development