Work set to begin on decontamination of Fort George site in Derry
A detailed account of ground contamination at the Fort George site has revealed four main substances needing specialised removal before construction work begins next year.
The Ilex Regeneration Company and technical experts have identified metals, primarily lead and arsenic, hydrocarbons, which are associated with fuel spillages or leaks, ash deposits and Japanese Knotweed as the main contaminants.
They need to be removed from the ground to allow construction work to begin on a science park. Fort George was associated with shipbuilding since 1912 and became a Royal Naval base in 1941 for ship repairs.
It was also used as an Army base from 1971 to 2000 before being purchased in 2005 by the Department for Social Development.
Michael Boyd, from consultants WYG, said three different investigations on a total of 127 locations throughout Fort George have been completed and a remedial strategy will soon be implemented
He said: “This site has a significant history of industrialisation which has led us to today and the type of contamination we found was what we expected given that history.
“The contamination is at depths that are not astronomical. They are fairly moderate but we have to go through the process that ensures the site will not pose any risk to users in the future.
“The decontamination process is fairly lengthy and heavily regulated and dictates the techniques used to clear the site but we hope to begin that process early next year.
“A portion of the site will be used for a science park and we hope to have that part cleared up in phase one.”
While the work to decontaminate the site will not be fully completed until 2014, contraction work on the science park that will occupy the former Army barracks is expected to begin in March next year at no risk to the workers.
WYG will continue to monitor the site for a year after the remediation work is completed.