The British Cement Association is promoting the use of cement- based methods of treating contaminated land insitu as an alternative to conventional dig and dump.
Already popular in the US - it is the most widely selected treatment technology on the US government's Superfund projects - BCA says these stabilisation and solidification techniques can help minimise risks arising from treating contamination. It says that cement's high strength, low permeability and resistance to most chemicals make it an ideal material for treating contaminated land and other wastes.
At the end of 1997 BCA representatives conducted a DTI-sponsored study tour in the US to look at cement-based techniques, with the aim of raising awareness of these methods in the UK. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, which has stringent treatment standards, considers stabilisation and solidification as an established treatment technology for a significant number of contaminants.
It was concluded that there are no technical reasons why most stabilisation and solidification processes cannot be transferred to the UK and that there is potential for them to become some of the prime onsite remediation methods in the UK.
BCA has published a report of the tour, 'Stabilisation and Solidification Using Cement: A Study Visit to the USA', and an accompanying video, 'Recycling Contaminated Land: Stabilisation and Solidification Using Cement'. Both examine the various techniques of remediating contaminated land with cement using case studies from the UK and the US.