The largest remediation in the Netherlands starts in the Krimpen airtight hall

The largest remediation in the Netherlands starts in the Krimpen airtight hall
The largest remediation in the Netherlands starts in the Krimpen airtight hall
Project leader Arthur van de Velde on the site in Krimpen aan den IJssel.

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NOS Newstoday, 2:33 PM

More than forty years after the last company left, the cleaning of the heavily polluted EMK site in Krimpen aan den IJssel begins.

A large white, airtight hall of 160 x 50 x 12 meters has recently been installed on the site next to the IJssel. The contaminated soil will be loaded into airtight containers inside that hall from mid-April. The containers are then placed on a ship and transported to a processor in Eemshaven in Groningen. Contractor Dura Vermeer speaks about “the largest remediation in the Netherlands”.

“Nothing stands in the way of creating a beautiful industrial estate here,” says project leader Arthur van de Velde of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management near Rijnmond. “Because that’s the whole purpose.” But not all companies in the area are confident that things are going well.

In the 1970s there was a chemical waste processor on the site on the Stormpolderdijk in Krimpen. And before that, since the end of the nineteenth century, there was a coal tar factory. The ground is full of poison.

Fish with pimples and growths

Krimpen resident Herman Vogelaar still remembers that waste processor Exploitatie Maatschappij Krimpen (EMK) was on the site from 1970 to 1980. The company did not follow the rules, he says. Some of the chemical waste was dumped on the company premises and in cellars, but also in the water of the IJssel. As a boy, a birdwatcher saw dead fish floating by while swimming. When he cast the fishing rod, he caught “the craziest specimens with pimples and growths.” “These were all signals that things weren’t quite right there. But as a child you didn’t really mind.”

In the 1980s, action was taken against the polluting company. The directors were sentenced to prison for illegally dumping chemical waste. The government isolated the site and the heavily polluted soil by installing steel sheet piles and pouring a thick layer of asphalt.

Nothing happened for decades. Until the municipality wondered whether the site would not be suitable as an industrial estate and decided to purchase the land. Various governments subsequently collected 60 million euros to pay for the remediation that is now starting.

Pandora’s box

Arjan de Bruin has a cosmetics company opposite the EMK site. He doubts the cleanup operation. When the contaminated soil was packed under the asphalt layer, he said, it was meant to be forever. “But they eventually started to break it open piece by piece. We said that they should have left that Pandora’s box closed,” said De Bruin.

“When they were working on a test lock here a few years ago, it was unbearable for us due to the stench and tar fumes. I am on the front row of the misery.”

De Bruin is involved in the Committee for a Better Approach to the EMK toxic site, which is trying through the Council of State to prevent remediation from taking place in the currently proposed manner. The Council of State has yet to make a ruling, but the reorganization will officially start in mid-April.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: largest remediation Netherlands starts Krimpen airtight hall


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