DEME Environmental, the environmental specialists of the DEME Group, and industrial service provider Mourik will make additional investments in their soil recycling centres in Kallo in the Port of Antwerp and in Heusden-Zolder to enable the cleaning of PFAS-containing soil. With the investment in Kallo, DEME and Mourik will be able to clean 300,000 tonnes of PFAS contaminated soil per year.
At the site in Heusden-Zolder in Limburg, investments are also being made in the construction of a factory for cleaning PFAS-containing soil with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year. The total additional investment at the two sites amounts to EUR 7 million.
The cleaning process has been optimised in the past period so that all PFAS can be removed from contaminated soil.
“This is done via a so-called soil washing technique in which PFAS is transferred from the soil to water. The PFAS is then removed from the water by means of special filters. Finally, the PFAS remaining in these filters is destroyed at specialised companies at high temperatures and converted into harmless products”, explains Dirk Ponnet, General Manager at DEME Environmental. “All PFAS present in the delivered soil is effectively removed in this way”.
Meanwhile, the results were subject to independent studies that confirm the success of this procedure. OVAM is also convinced of the effectiveness of this technique.
DEME has already been working previously on solutions for cleaning PFAS-containing soil. For example, in 2020, in collaboration with engineering firm Tauw, the company brought a solution to the Dutch market for the cost-efficient and sustainable cleaning of PFAS contaminated soil. Mourik also has extensive experience with the issue, among other things through the construction and operation of water treatment plants for groundwater containing PFAS. Mourik's research into cleaning techniques for soil and groundwater containing PFAS from the former Opel site in Antwerp resulted in a full-scale installation for soil remediation works.
“Mourik therefore offers solutions for many PFAS-related problems. Mourik purifies PFAS-containing groundwater, handles the processing of PFAS-containing waste and decontaminates PFAS-containing extinguishing systems. The cleaning of PFAS-containing soil in our soil recycling centre fits in perfectly with this”, says Ronny Bertels, General Manager – Director of Mourik NV.
Grond Recyclage Centrum (Soil Recycling Centre)
The “Grond Recyclage Centrum” (Soil Recycling Centre) was the very first soil cleaning company in Flanders to be established in the Port of Antwerp in 1993 by DEME Environmental (70%) and Mourik (30%).More than six million tonnes of soil have been cleaned since the start in Kallo.
In 2008, a second establishment was opened in Heusden-Zolder on the Albert Canal in cooperation with the Govaerts family. One and a half million tonnes of soil have already been cleaned there.
PFAS is the collective name for more than 6,000 chemicals, which includes a combination of fluorine compounds and alkyl groups. They do not occur naturally in the environment. The EU has restricted their use since 2006.PFAS are resistant to high temperatures and repel grease, dirt and water. Therefore, they are widely used in industrial applications and consumer products. Consider for example the non-stick coating in pans, cosmetics, textiles, fire extinguishing foam, cleaning agents or lubricants.Health risks vary according to the type of PFAS studied.