Site Investigation Results and Our Next Steps
We appreciate that people are concerned about the soil contamination on the JIFC site, so we want to explain the measures in place to ensure that passers-by and those working close to the JIFC development are safe. From the very start we’ve taken a diligent, uncompromising approach when it comes to public and site safety. Now that we’ve received the detailed results and analysis from the soil testing, we want to provide an update on how we’ve been upholding this commitment to safety.
The tests on the soil have been extensive, carried out across the Building 4 site on a 9 metre (m) grid with 3 environmental samples analysed per trial pit, taken at depths of 1, 2 and 3m. A total of 108 samples were taken and analysed at a specialist laboratory in the UK. These results have been assessed against the waste acceptance criteria for La Collette and 24 showed traces of asbestos. These 24 were then taken for further testing, and the concentration was found to be below the 0.1% threshold used in the La Collette waste acceptance criteria. 18 samples were below 0.001%, which is under the detection limit. The highest reading was 0.013%.
The concentrations of asbestos fibres identified in the soils are very low, as the majority of asbestos that has been found during the tests is cement bonded asbestos in boards or pipes, which would only release fibres if cut with a saw or a grinder. Because this type of asbestos poses a low risk to human health, it’s categorised as ‘un-licenced asbestos’. Of course this by no means warrants complacency, so the un-licenced asbestos is separated by hand from the excavated material to minimise release of fibres, and stored in a covered skip for further testing before being transported to a designated lagoon at La Collette.
To date, licenced asbestos has been encountered on just one occasion and the licenced asbestos operatives on the site were able to deal with the material in a safe and controlled way, approved by the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI). This material was sealed in double bags, stored in a secured locked skip and finally deposited in a container at La Collette Asbestos Facility, in accordance with Jersey’s waste transport law.
In terms of other contaminants, the testing has identified a greater quantity of ash deposits than our previously reported 4-5%, with ash contamination found to be around 20%. We do however anticipate that this 20% figure will reduce once large stone/concrete is removed.
The Environmental Department and Transport and Technical Services Department (TTSD) have reviewed the results and the interpretation of the results by our environmental consultant, Waterman Plc, and have accepted the categorisation of the material we’re adopting for depositing at La Collette reclamation site; normal waste will be deposited in the general landfill, soil contaminated with ash will go into a lined cell, un-licenced asbestos will go into a separate lagoon and licenced asbestos will be double bagged and stored in containers.
The Environmental Department, TTSD and the HSI have all reviewed and agreed the Construction Environment Management Plan and/or the Waste Management Plan (these documents encompass the testing regime, extraction methodology, risk mitigation measures and monitoring).
The HSI has also requested a licenced asbestos contractor is present on site during the excavation works and that a De-Contamination Unit (DCU) be set-up on site during the excavation and piling works. The DCU enables construction personnel that are in the immediate vicinity of the excavations to remove dirty protective layers in a safe way.
In accordance with UK best practice, the following measures are in place:
- Dampening down the site prior to, and during, excavation to reduce any dust being created
- Wheel washing for vehicles leaving the site to reduce any dust on the public road network
- Covering the loads of the excavated material being transported from the site to reduce any dust created during transportation
- Covering any material stock piled on site to reduce any dust being created;
- Protective clothing for site personnel operating at the face of the excavations
- Using a qualified banksman and digger driver to spot any visible contaminants (ash and asbestos are visible materials)
- Monitoring the air quality and dust during the excavations (including dedicated asbestos air monitoring)
- Independent assessments of the results of the air and dust monitoring on a weekly basis by Parsens Brinkerhoff, and a monthly audit to be performed by Waterman Plc. These weekly and monthly reports are submitted to the Planning Department and will be publicly available on the Planning Department’s website (permit reference P/2012/1141).
The risk of the fibres being released into the atmosphere during the excavation process is adequately controlled by implementing and adhering to the mitigation measures listed above. Asbestos air monitoring during the works monitors and quantifies fibre release. To date air monitoring has confirmed that there has been less than 0.01 fibres/cm3 in the atmosphere during the excavation works, this falls well within the safe working guidelines set by the HSI.
We continue to take advice from the organisations listed above to ensure everyone’s safety at each stage of the excavation process. If you have any questions about the above – or any other aspect of what the JDC does – please do not hesitate to get in touch.