Earth Environmental – December 2013 News
It is that time of year when you start to reflect on the year gone by and prepare budgets for the following year.
2013 was a good year for all of us at Earth Environmental & Geotechnical. We secured a large number of contracts (200 in total), which took us to all parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Many contracts involved site investigation work in London (and the South-East) demanding periods away from family and friends. One project in London in particular, for a large consultancy practice, involved weekly environmental ground gas and groundwater sampling/monitoring in the Docklands area of East London, for a very prestigious residential project on a former chemical works.
Other noteworthy projects in the year included new food retail stores for ALDI, Morrison’s and a large development on an existing shopping complex for British Land.
Wind Turbine Scotland
Our first wind turbine project involved us in December providing a Coal Mining Risk Assessment on a site that was considered to require having piled turbine foundations due to a potential for shallow abandonment mineworkings. A quick appraisal of geological maps and enquiries to British Coal identified however that the development area had previously been opencast, which therefore removed any mineworkings.
Our skills were required for the undertaking of a groundwater risk assessment for a new cemetery in Bedfordshire. Previous consultants had developed a report that was considered by the Environment Agency to not satisfy their requirements, in particular the risk posed by the development. We provided a Conceptual Site Model, together with a semi-quantitative risk model based upon the environmental setting of the site, in particular the location of licenced and unlicensed abstraction points and controlled waters.
Former Army Barracks, Chichester
Despite being previously heavily investigated an area of a former army barracks was acquired by our clients for a new phase of housing development. Existing reports suggested the need for piling of new three storey structures. At the tendering phase we advised our clients that subject to further geotechnical and contamination testing a more cost effective foundation solution could be employed.
An accelerated programme of site investigation work was completed in December within a two week period, during which we advised on a range of issues and also proved by use of settlement modelling software that less than 25mm of total settlement would be induced by the structures.
Previously suspected contamination near to a former firing range and hospital was discounted after extensive chemical testing which was reported six days after being on site.
Chemical Works, Sheffield
Pannone in Manchester awarded us a contract with an international chemical company to conduct an accelerated programme of site investigation work on a busy waste recycling facility in Sheffield. A new lease was being developed between the landowner and tenant to allow for storage of chemicals on part of a site near to the site boundary and an adjacent surface controlled water. As part of the lease a Baseline Condition Report was required in the event of surrender of the leased area.
We drilled the site after adhering to a thorough health and safety examination and determined that despite the area being used for the storage of a wide range of waste products for the previous six years no subsurface contamination could be identified, either in soils or groundwater.
Temporary Bridge, Heswall
A locally well known fire damaged mill is being planned to be redeveloped for a discount food retail store. As part of our tender submission we quickly identified the need for a thorough site investigation due to poor ground conditions in the area caused by weak alluvial deposits.
Our site investigation involved a mixture of cable percussive and window sampling holes for the assessment of ground conditions for either a piled or vibro-stone column foundation solution.
New Discount Food Store, Bradford
As part of the refurbishment of a highway bridge in Heswall we assisted the contractor and structural engineer with assessment of ground conditions along the abutments for design of a temporary bridge. The project proved to be difficult due to access restrictions and a number of services along the verges of the narrow and busy public road.
In-situ testing together with laboratory testing indicates that bridge loadings could be accommodated by pad foundations placed at a shallow depth, removing the need for a costly piled solution.