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Belgium pioneers land clean-up system

MOBILE, MODULAR plant for cleaning up contaminated landfill - claimed to be the world's first - has been put into operation for the first time at a former terracotta clay pit near St Lenaerts Brecht, Belgium.

Development by Belgian soils cleaning company Soils NV was driven by 1995 polluter pays legislation, which made the remediation of contaminated soils much cheaper than removal. The new plant is being used to remove toxins and heavy metals from the former landfill site.

The mobile system can be located on any contaminated site and Soils expects it will further reduce the cost of remediation - at present about 50% of the cost of dumping - and continue to bring down future demand for landfill.

Development of the 'integrated recycling plant' took six months and cost £3M. Five operatives - with the aid of purpose-designed computer software to monitor the type and degree of contamination - can handle 60t/h leaving contamination concentrations just above legal background levels.

Soils is hopeful it can redeploy the St Lenaerts Brecht plant on a project at Zagreb in four years, when the current remediation is complete. The company is also looking at other sites in Belgium - Flanders alone has 9,000 contamination black-spots - and in neighbouring countries.

Andrew Mylius

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