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New land of opportunity for remediation chief

NEWS

Richard Rawet was appointed associate director of Dew Remediation at the beginning of August. He talks to Joanna Booth about the growth of the industry after the new Landfill Directive.

What is your background?

I started out as a civil engineer and have worked in contracting all my life. In March this year I joined Dew Remediation as general manager and have now been made associate director.

What will your role involve?

All aspects of the remediation side of the business - the day-to-day running of the business, strategic planning and gaining a strong contracts base supported by our scientific skills. I want to grow the company by a stable 20 to 30 per cent a year.We're not looking at a dash for turnover.We want to build up a stable level of repeat business with clients who understand the way we work.

Which sectors of the market are you targeting for expansion?

The utilities sector is increasingly aware of its environmental obligations and the consequences of contamination crossing boundaries into neighbouring land.The rail sector needs track bed clean-up, and everyone is developing brownfield sites at the moment.People know you can't just ignore environmental issues any more.

There are no hazardous waste sites in Scotland, so we may find increased opportunities there.We have a network of regional offices which could be expanded.

Has the Landfill Directive created opportunities in the remediation market?

Yes. Clients have to think a lot more carefully about their methods.With hazardous waste, the quick and simple dig-and-dump option is not practicable any longer. It's too expensive. Dew is an expert in insitu and ex-situ bioremediation.There are endless ways to treat soils and groundwater.Most bioremediation systems just work with the bacteria already present in the soil.We have patented technology where we introduce new bacteria, along with nutrients and oxygen, to degrade hydrocarbons as quickly as possible.We can also combine with the construction and piling arms of the Dew group to provide an integrated service.

How has the directive affected your clients?

It's a learning curve.They need to reappraise how they tackle sites.They need to get us involved in the process much earlier on and do detailed investigation works and planning.The old way of stumbling over contamination and then dealing with it just won't work anymore.Getting approval from the Environment Agency takes time, and clients can leave it too late.The bioremediation process itself will only run as fast as we can drive the bacteria, so projects usually last an average of 12 to 25 weeks.

It depends on the contamination and the conditions; every site is unique. Larger contractors are often ahead of the game, but smaller firms are sometimes unsure of what is required of them.They can miss out on remediation tax breaks if they don't get the paperwork right.We are looking at the possibility of a strategic alliance with a company which could provide our clients with advice on that side of things.