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Natural microorganisms help the green clean up of Olympic Park contamination

Billions of naturally occurring microorganisms are helping clean nearly 50,000 tonnes of soil on the Olympic Park site that is contaminated with petrol and oil so that it can be reused to create the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years.

The bacteria, fungi and other microbes will completely clean this soil without any waste being taken to landfill as part of the green, high-tech clean up of the Olympic Park.

The microorganisms in the soil on the parts of the Olympic Park that has suffered decades of contamination have adapted to naturally consume petroleum hydrocarbons such as petrol and diesel. Warm air, nutrients and water vapour is being pumped through soil in especially constructed bioremediation beds to massively increase the numbers of harmless microorganisms and speed up this natural ‘composting’ process.

After a few weeks the soil is clean and ready for reuse creating the platform for the construction of the venues and parklands for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and legacy without waste materials being taken off site to landfill.

The bioremediation work is supporting five soil washing machines currently cleaning thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil for reuse on the Olympic Park site.

ODA Chief Executive David Higgins said:

"Cleaning up of the Olympic Park is incredibly challenging. We are on track to clean and clear most of the site by Beijing 2008 and meet our sustainability commitments. By utilising the latest technology we are transforming land contaminated by decades of industrial use and neglect into an area fit for world class sporting venues, a new urban park and the development of new communities."

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