Hazardous chemical clean up for RVA
By Lindsay Gale04 August 2009
The site of the Oxiris chemical plant in Knottingly, UK, is providing a major challenge for project manager and construction design management specialist RVA Group. The site, being redeveloped as a mixed use site by St Pauls Developments plc, has been in use as a chemical processing facility for 70 years and was closed in 2008. Over this time it has been owned and operated by a number of different companies, including Midland Yorkshire Tar, Croda, Shell, Inspec and Degussa.
The 25 acre site poses a complex decommissioning challenge, notably because it remained a top tier site covered by the UK's Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) until very recently, with many of its chemical products being hazardous in nature. The decommissioning process therefore had to be strictly controlled to prevent avoidable operative and third party exposure to these hazards. RVA was brought on site by the developer to ensure that this was achieved.
RVA is currently delivering a bespoke and closely controlled engineering strategy for the decommissioning, decontamination and isolation of process plant, tankfarms, storage facilities, labs and offices, many of which date back to the 1940s. In addition, a 50 m (164 ft) chimney was demolished by demolition contractor EDS using its Hitachi 60 m (197 ft) high reach rig (see D&Ri, July-Aug, p41).RVA is expected to complete its work on the site at the end of August, with final demolition and site clearance ending in September.