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Huge clean-up brings international bidders

CONTRACTS DERBYSHIRE

INTERNATIONAL rivals are in the mix for a remediation project to tackle one of the most polluted sites in Western Europe.

The Avenue project for the East Midlands Development Agency aims to regenerate the site of the former Avenue Coking Works in Derbyshire.

The project's value remains uncertain but estimators predict costs between £40 million and £80 million.

Awaiting tender documents for the vast scheme are Costain, Nuttall, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est and Mowlem, which are all pricing the job alone.

They are joined by a low countries tieup of Belgian team Deme Environmental Contractors and Dutch teams Sita Remediation and Volker Stevin.

Kier has lined up alongside two Belgian firms, dredging outfit Jan de Nul and soil and groundwater treatment specialists Envisan.

The successful bidder will be tasked with transforming the 100 ha site south of Chesterfield into public open space, with some space earmarked for housing and offices.

The land is severely contaminated after decades of mining and lime, iron and coke production at the site.

It was also the site of a coal gas plant and a massive sulphuric acid production line.

Recent boreholes have discovered contamination at depths of 100 m.The silt in the lagoons has a high carbon content - three times higher than acceptable for landfill - so sending it off-site is not an option.

Some 400,000 tonnes of contaminated material will need to be treated on site.

Of the 1.4 million cu m that needs treating, some 600,000 cu m is considered as grossly contaminated.

The two-st age tender system is a modified version of the Highways Agency ECI method.Firms have until early August to return bids, with a decision expected in October.

Jacobs Babtie, Turner and Townsend and the Environment Partnership have been appointed as the project team.