Balfour Beatty Consutrction Services UK: A21 dual carriageway
Over 0 Tonnes of Material
Complex muck away project involving the removal of over 42,000 tonnes of material
Over 0 Tonnes of Hazardous Waste
Over 16,000 tonnes of hazardous waste excavated, including 11,000 tonnes of asbestos
Over 0% Landfill Diversion Achieved
Over 70% landfill diversion achieved despite the high volume of waste mandated to go to landfill
In the Summer of 2015, Balfour Beatty Construction Services Ltd began work to upgrade a twomile stretch of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury. Costing an estimated £69.7million, the project would see the existing single carriageway replaced with a new duel carriageway, substantially increasing traffic capacity. This would help to ease delays along the road, which had become notorious for congestion. Though the new carriageway would broadly follow the line of the existing A21, a significant amount of ground excavation work was required to prepare the site for construction.
As the preferred waste partner for Balfour Beatty Construction Services Ltd, Reconomy was tasked with managing the removal and disposal of all hazardous, non-hazardous and inert waste. When Reconomy was first contacted about the project in November 2015, comprehensive soil testing had already been completed by a third party environmental manager, acting on behalf of Highways England. This set an expectation about the types of waste that would be encountered along with predicted volumes. Records showed that within the boundaries of the site were the remains of a Victorian landfill site, a demolished brick factory with an asbestos roof, a demolished creosote factory and an out of service petrol station. High volumes of hazardous waste were therefore anticipated from the outset.
The presence of a broad range of hazardous materials were identified on site, including oil and diesel waste (TPH), metals, and invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed. Multiple types of asbestos were also identified, including friable asbestos, which crumbles upon touch and can be released into the environment as airborne particles if not handled correctly, causing significant harm. Using the soil testing results, Reconomy established a site-wide grid system to map out the different areas of waste and began liaising with supply chain partners to arrange haulage and disposal methods.
It very quickly became apparent that the excavation teams were encountering significantly more hazardous material than expected, with small pockets mixed in with larger volumes of inert and nonhazardous waste. Each time suspected hazardous material was spotted by the Environmental Manager, the area needed to be closed for further investigations. This slowed progress and sometimes meant that drivers arriving to collect certain types of waste were being turned away.
On any given day, up to three different areas of the project site were being worked on simultaneously, with numerous waste streams requiring collection at the same time. The logistical complexities of this were compounded by the fact that drivers would often be delayed by the project’s own roadworks, arriving out of scheduled order, and could als gain access from numerous entrances. This increased the risk of the wrong waste type being collected and taken to the incorrect disposal facility, resulting infines or increased costs.
Reconomy deployed a full-time operative on site to oversee all vehicle movements, calling them off against a daily schedule and ensuring they left site correctly loaded. Reconomy also took responsibility for the completion of all necessary waste transfer paperwork, ensuring legal compliance and relieving Balfour Beatty of any additional administrative pressures. To speed up the removal process, the A21 project was also made a ‘first cancellation priority’ for any other local jobs being managed by Reconomy. This meant that in the event of any cancellations, vehicles were re-routed to the A21 project.
Over the course of the nine-month muck away process, Reconomy personnel were on site for a total of 210 days. Over 2,200 loads of waste were removed in total, consisting of approximately 10,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste, over 4,000 tonnes of inert waste and roughly 26,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, including 11,000 tonnes of asbestos. Much of the asbestos was mandated to go to landfill, while all non-hazardous and inert materials were transported to recycling centres for processing into recycled aggregate. Over 42,000 tonnes of waste were disposed of in total, with more than 70% being successfully diverted away from landfill.