History of the ARA STEIH site
The former company Produits Chimiques Ugine Kuhlman operated a pesticide production plant at the ARA STEIH site between 1947 and 1974, in the process of which the area became contaminated with lindane. Sandoz (which later became Novartis) purchased the site in 1973 for the purpose of erecting an industrial sewage plant. Up until 2012, STEIH S.a.r.l. was responsible for running the wastewater treatment facility. The industrial effluent formerly treated at STEIH is now sent to the ProRheno industrial wastewater treatment plant (ARA Chemie) in Basel.
The production site of Produits Chimiques Ugine Kuhlman with lindane residues around 1972
As early as 1972, the French authorities requested that the groundwater at the site be monitored. In 2011 and 2012, exploratory work (drilling, analysis of samples) was started in order to ascertain the extent of the historical contamination. These exploratory operations were completed in March 2012.
Aerial photo of the Novartis Campus. The site of the former St Johann Harbor, which is being converted as part of the Novartis Campus Plus project, is marked in red. The course of the pedestrian and cycle path, which will run along the Rhine past the current ARA STEIH construction site as far as the Three Countries Bridge, is drawn in yellow. No definitive decision has been made regarding the final use of the site (visualized here with trees and green areas).
As an ideal environment for innovation and research, the Novartis Campus will provide space in the mid-term for 10,000 employees. In collaboration with Basel Canton, Novartis therefore launched the New Use of St. Johann Harbor – Novartis Campus Plus project, or Campus Plus for short.
The project comprises several subprojects. One of the most important is the sale of the harbor area to Novartis. Relocating the harbor facilities will make it possible to expand the campus toward the Rhine and to remodel a riverside zone that will also benefit the public. Another important project was the integration of Hüningerstrasse into the Novartis site.
The project also provides a number of benefits for the public, who will have direct access to the Rhine from Voltamatte Park. A public pedestrian and cycle path will also be provided along the Rhine, and Novartis will offer the city new residential space. The project is a win-win situation for everyone concerned: for Novartis, for Basel as a business center, and for the residents of both the local area and the region as a whole.