Related theme: Site (re)development
Period: 2021 – 2023
Client: Aluchemie, Botlek – Rotterdam
TAUW specialists involved: Annette Haselhoff, Joost Bakx, Barry Schild, Floor Verhoeven, Charles Pijls, John van Tol, Tim van Leeuwen, Jordy Houkes, Bas Weller, Letta Poldervaart, Tigo Dijkstra, Bram Rijksen, Berend Hoekstra, Henberto Remmerts, Rudmer Stoel
External specialist involved: Eric Wildeman (Njordic)
In spring 2021, Aluchemie, the largest producer of anodes in Europe, announced that it would close its doors on 31 December 2021. The company leaves behind a 26-hectare site in the Botlek, with signs of use from over half a century of production. Aluchemie takes responsibility for this and aims to deliver the site as a Greenfield to its owner, the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Dismantling the installations, demolishing the buildings and remediating the soil are tasks that require thorough preparation and coordination.
Given the size of the site (approx. 37 football pitches), the diversity of expertise required, the various competent authorities and policy areas involved, combined with the coordination between the various tasks this Greenfield project is a particularly complex and challenging endeavour. This envisaged completion at the end of 2024 adds to the complexity and challenge of this project.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, Annette Haselhoff, TAUW's Programme Manager for the project, assembled a multidisciplinary team with diverse expertise and competences in the fields of soil investigation, soil remediation, ecology, unexploded ordnance, nitrogen emissions, contracting and tendering, business sites soil remediation scheme and environmental permits.
During the project, TAUW cooperated closely with Aluchemie's management team. Other key stakeholders are the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the competent authorities DCMR Environmental Protection Agency, Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) and Haaglanden Environmental Service (ODH).
The main challenges in terms of programme management were to initiate and structure the decision-making process by getting the right people at the right table at the right time to ensure interests were aligned and that applicable regulations and the work activities were specified. TAUW's expertise and knowledge of the region, the surrounding companies and the competent authority proved to be of great value in this regard.
In order to meet the requirements for demolition and remediation, the multitude of laws and regulations, technical feasibility and enforceability were constantly taken into account. To streamline the process and ensure good communication with the competent authority, DCMR appointed a director who could ensure alignment within the policy areas involved.
A deep understanding of the current situation of the subsoil, buildings and installations was crucial. When Aluchemie was founded in the early 1960s, it was not yet common practice to record soil contamination, underground infrastructure, pavements and embankments. That data was collected from incident records, environmental permits, process descriptions and the historical knowledge of Aluchemie employees. A good understanding of the subsurface prevents unwelcome surprises during redevelopment and enables better agreements to be made with the competent authority.
TAUW carried out extensive field assessment activities into the quality of the water bed in the harbour, paving and fill layers, and examined the water bed from pontoons. In addition, the presence of unexploded ordnance was assessed (as this area was potentially bombed during World War II). All survey data was incorporated into a geographic information system (GIS) so that the most recent information about the entire site is always available digitally.
Preparations for demolition and remediation require an understanding of the flora and fauna found at the site. Ecological surveys were started well in advance and were carried out using drones. That was necessary given the sheer size of the buildings and site. It also allowed demolition work to start on time. After carefully considering the option of a flexible sequence of the demolition work, more was possible than initially thought. TAUW's ecologists were part of the implementation in which an ecological work protocol drawn up by TAUW was used. Good communication and flexibility were decisive factors in this respect.
The step-by-step alignment of the current permit with the changing site situation also required looking ahead at all regulatory requirements and continuously liaising with the authorities, DCMR and ODH.
"The great thing about TAUW is their flexibility. They take on anything, are expert and professional.” - Jacques van Es, Aluchemie
As part of the preparations for the underground demolition work and soil remediation, TAUW provided programme management, prepared the risk management file and, from an interdisciplinary perspective, specified and reported on the preconditions set by the competent authority within the policy fields under the Environmental Management Act, Soil Protection Act, Nature Protection Act and Environmental Law (General Provisions) Act, including the licensing requirements. Data is stored in GIS and pinpoints the presence on the site of which specific contaminants, which protected flora and fauna, and which underground infrastructure, paving and embankments. That means that Aluchemie can now take the next step in the Greenfield project and carry out the demolition works and soil remediation within the desired timeframe so that – parallel to these activities and planning – the industrial redevelopment of this site can also begin.
The TAUW team made a significant contribution to the success of this complex project and is proud of the result: ready for the next challenge!
December 2021 - TAUW supports Aluchemie Botlek on Greenfield project. Also read the earlier news article explaining how Aluchemie aims to deliver the company site as they got it in 1962 by the end of 2024. The project is also referred to as a 'Greenfield project' for this reason.
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