file under: Environment, Europe, Germany, Government, Bioremediation

New Life for a Former Industrial Port

Creating a new residential and commercial district in Offenbach, Germany

A new residential and commercial district is rising on the site of a former industrial port on the Main River in Offenbach, Germany. Since 1950, the 320,000-square-meter site had been used for storage and transhipment of petroleum products, scrap metals, sand, gravel and coal. Over the last 9 years, however, we have assisted with an €800 million redevelopment project to convert the port area into a high-quality environment for homes and businesses.

To secure the port, flood protection measures heightened the surrounding area by 4 meters using rubble and other dredged material from downstream dam construction. 

Because of the project’s location along the river, flood protection measures were undertaken to heighten the area by about 4 meters from its original ground level. Rubble from war years and dredged material from a downstream dam construction project were reused to provide some of the fill. The historical use of this site as a dumping ground and then a port for fuels and bulk materials had contaminated the upper meters of soil with heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. In addition, groundwater contamination was found in a large part of the site. Petroleum hydrocarbons and aromatic hydrocarbons of benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene and methyl tert-butyl ether were detected. The concentrations of contamination range from tolerable levels to levels that require immediate action across different parts of the site.

With a flexible rehabilitation and development strategy, we enabled the successful reuse of the site while managing cost and environmental risks for our clients. To achieve economical implementation of the revitalization project, we considered all factors for minimizing pollution and the degradation of harmful substances. A major challenge was ensuring that all regulatory requirements were met to satisfy local authorities of the effectiveness of the remediation efforts and facilitate successful marketing of the redeveloped site. To aid in meeting this challenge, we created a model in close cooperation with our client and the local authorities that allowed for the necessary remediation measures while maximizing the freedom to develop the site. This model also incorporated existing remediation measures.

To support efficient data management and a uniform, comprehensive area image, we developed a geographic information system for the site. Almost 20,000 records were collected from different plots of land; through the precise collection of hydrogeological parameters and pollutant inventory, we were able to develop a tailored remediation plan for all highly contaminated areas. The contamination that remains in the soil will continue to be removed in phases during the ongoing building development.

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Mainviertel Offenbach GmbH & Co. KG