The project



A responsible, sustainable approach to remediation

Full remediation of the ARA STEIH site entails the removal of lindane residues, which are then disposed of using the latest technology.

Novartis is looking to achieve sustainable and lasting remediation of the ARA STEIH and is drawing on the know-how of in-house and external experts and working closely with the relevant authorities. Various measures will be taken to ensure that the local population and the environment receive the greatest possible protection during the clean-up operations:

  • Excavation work will be carried out exclusively beneath industrial-scale, sealed tents. The extracted air will be purified with activated carbon.
  • In less contaminated areas, the soil will be excavated solely beneath extraction hoods fitted with air filters.
  • In addition, to prevent the accumulation of dust, a film of degradable water-based polymer binder will be applied to the surface in order to bind the soil and the dust together.
  • Heavily contaminated material will be loaded into sealed containers, beneath excavation tents, before it is cleaned.
  • Slightly contaminated material will be loaded onto ships via a closed system. The material will be kept moist to avoid the formation of dust.

Comprehensive safety measures and equipment ensure that secondary contamination, which may pose a risk to the environment and the population, does not occur when the contaminated material is removed from the site by road, rail, or ship. For example, special sealed containers are used; trucks are decontaminated, cleaned, and continuously monitored; all national laws and regulations pertaining to transport by road, rail, and ship are observed.

The STEIH site will be replenished with fresh, clean soil to a depth of several meters to ensure optimum remediation for the benefit of future generations.

The deconstruction and remediation project

Deconstruction work began in mid 2012 with the dismantling of the technical facilities, the buildings, and the tanks. At the same time, soil remediation work commenced along the Rhine riverbank. A wastewater pipeline was laid to carry existing industrial effluent into Switzerland for treatment at the ProRheno plant in Basel. This meant that the STEIH wastewater treatment facility could be decommissioned at the end of 2012. The current phase of the project entails removing soil residues containing lindane from the site and dismantling the underground basins and tanks.

The ARA STEIH site showing the excavation tents