The dismantling work began in mid-2012 with the dismantling of the technical installations, buildings and tanks. At the same time, soil remediation work was started along the banks of the Rhine, where a wastewater pipeline was installed, which now carries industrial wastewater into Switzerland for treatment at the ProRheno wastewater treatment facility in Basel. As a result, it was possible to decommission the STEIH wastewater treatment facility in late 2012.
After the selection of new remediation companies, work was taken up gradually over a period of around six months. Every stage was considered for possible impacts and, if necessary, optimized. This test phase was completed in June 2015. Regular operations began upon prior agreement between French and Swiss authorities.
Air quality will be continuously monitored. On the basis of the measurements obtained and what we know today, there is and never was at any point a risk to humans or the environment. The companies involved are committed to completing the remediation safely and without any risk to the population or the environment. The aim of the remediation is to reduce the residual concentrations of lindane by-products and other legacy contamination and thus to permit all possible follow-up use of the land.
The lindane contamination was caused by the former company Produits Chimiques Ugines KUHLMAN (PCUK), which manufactured lindane on the site from 1947 to 1974. Sandoz acquired the area in 1973 with a view to constructing an industrial sewage treatment plant.
In remediating the soil at ARA STEIH, Novartis is cleaning up legacy contamination which it did not cause.