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Academia and industry unite to promote remediation techniques

NEWS :

A NEW forum has been set up to promote the development of research on and implementation of UK stabilisation/solidification (S/S) technology.

Starnet (the Stabilisation/ Solidification Treatment and Remediation Network) is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and managed by Dr Abir Al-Tabbaa of Cambridge University.

S/S involves mixing binders or sorbent material with contaminated soil to fix pollution in place.

Common binders include Portland cement, pozzolans, lime and other special cements, while common sorbents include pulverised-fuel ash, carbon and clays.

Exsitu and insitu chemical and physical mixing processes are used depending on the binder and the application, which includes landfilling, redevelopment of contaminated sites or reuse of material as construction aggregate.

While S/S is accepted in the US as a cost-effective and fast method for the treatment of hazardous wastes and contaminated land, its use in the UK has been limited, said Al-Tabbaa.

The project will address key issues for S/S technologies including binder selection, technology selection, testing and performance level, long-term performance and environmental impact, quality assurance and quality control issues, and good practice guidance documents.

It will support industry in developing applications, identify key areas for research and provide information on the latest developments through regular newsletters and a website.

Al-Tabbaa said increased knowledge of the underlying scientific and engineering principles and long-term performance will promote acceptance and widespread use of the technology in the UK.

Starnet will provide a forum for discussion to promote research and collaboration between different groups in academia, industry and regulators with an interest in the techniques, he said. The network already includes leading UK scientists and engineers, organisations and regulators (see box).

Core members will meet three times a year.

Three one-day workshops will be held between 2002 and 2004 and an international conference is planned for early 2004.

Membership is open to all interested parties. For details, contact Ramesh Perera at the Engineering Department of Cambridge University, tel: 01223 766683; email: asrp2@eng. cam. ac. uk The Starnet core membership comprises Imperial College, the Universities of Cambridge, Greenwich, Newcastle, Birmingham and Surrey, TRL, May Gurney, British Nuclear Fuels, the Environment Agency, Blue Circle Industries, Buxton Lime Industries, M J Carter Associates, Shell Research and Contaminated Land:

Applications in Real Environments (CL: AIRE).

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