Project Overview

In February 2014 a UK coal-fired power station commissioned Lucion to carrying out a range of asbestos management services across the decommissioned site including consultancy, pre-refurbishment surveys, removal management, reassurance air testing and contaminated land investigations.

Large scale land excavations were planned for the land surrounding the Power Station. To the west side of the building, a concrete and brick cylindrical structure rises to 2 meters from ground level. This was presumed to be the access shaft to underground service tunnels.

The shaft needed to be removed to a depth of 5 meters. Lucion were contracted to identifying asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) within the shaft and the built structure. Following a site inspection, it became apparent that access to the shaft was blocked off 1 meter down.

Rubble, soil and waste had been deposited in the opening and the shaft appeared to be supported by a non visible structure under the waste. This waste was considered unsafe to remove due to risk of creating an opening and falling from height into the shaft.

The method of work included:

  • Creating a flat area of land to one side of the culvert structure where machinery and waste could be stored. This was fenced off and became a designated respirator zone, where only authorised personnel were allowed entry.
  • Under locally controlled conditions, using PPE and fibre suppressants, machinery removed one side of the culvert wall, gaining access to the waste to enable full access to the shaft.
  • Lucion were present during these enabling works, completing a watch and brief, and personal air monitoring.
  • Lucion sampled the soil and waste in order to ascertain if any asbestos containing materials were present.
  • This confirmed that the soil did contain asbestos. Therefore in accordance with the CIRIA Asbestos in Soils Guidelines, a risk profile was drawn up to ascertain the level of exposure risk associated to the planned program of works.
  • The risk was controlled with a continuation of the use of respirator work zones, constant perimeter monitoring, along with fibre suppression and controlled movement of the soil.
    As a result of the investigation, it was deemed prudent to examine additional areas of the same site, where excavation works were due to commence on a later date.

Knowing that asbestos had been found within one location, and the historical document studying lead all parties to believe that asbestos from the power station had been removed and dumped within the grounds.

Lucion recommended that to understand the risk further, and therefore be able to develop a strategic remedial scope of works, additional sampling would be required.

By using a simple grid network, and taking into account the depth of required excavation, Lucion developed a sampling strategy that allowed a risk to be calculated based on asbestos content at the varying levels.

All excavation works were completed successfully and safely, without accident or incident.