Cleaning polluted groundwater from a railway car production site

On the former DUEWAG factory premises on Königsberger Strasse in Düsseldorf, countless rail vehicles were manufactured for the whole of Germany over a period of more than 70 years. However, that manufacturing has resulted in the contamination of the groundwater with tar oil residues. The Bauer Umwelt Division of Bauer Resources GmbH is now playing a major role in remediating the area and revitalising it for the development of a new industrial site.

 The Bauer Umwelt groundwater treatment plant purifies 12.5m3 of polluted water per hour

The Bauer Umwelt groundwater treatment plant purifies 12.5m3 of polluted water per hour

First and foremost, in the work being on the site by Bauer Umwelt Division is the purification of the polluted groundwater. In December 2020, specialists from the Bauer Umwelt Division began with a range of demolition tasks and earth works in order to prepare the 240m2 site for the construction of a groundwater treatment plant. Once this was completed, the individual equipment components were transported to the site in five truckloads. Within just three weeks, the team led by Heinrich Unger, sales manager West for the Bauer Umwelt Division, prepared the site for operation step by step.

The work involved to prepare the site for operation involved constructing the catch basin including all supply and disposal lines, setting up pre-fabricated components such as screens, tanks and containers and connecting them by means of internal pipe work. To prevent damage to the frost-susceptible components during the cold winter months, winter protection was installed.

On March 1, 2021, the groundwater treatment plant was finally commissioned - with great success. "A fantastic performance in terms of the short installation period," Unger said adding: "This requires experience and perfect scheduling."

Furthermore, special attention is necessary as in addition to the groundwater contamination originating from the site, there is a plume of highly mobile pollutants (so-called PFT), which flows in from outside the site and for which the plant also had to be designed.

Since its commissioning, the plant with a maximum throughput capacity of 25m³/h cleans approximately 12.5m³ of water every hour that is polluted with contaminants such as PAH, manganese, CHC and PFC. "Specifically, the polluted water is pre-treated in a 40m3 tank with a sedimentation, aeration and storage chamber as well as gravel filtration. Then the contaminants are absorbed using three successive liquid phase activated carbon filters," explained Unger.

Once the cleaning process has concluded, the clean water is reintroduced into the wastewater channel via an interim buffer system. In this way, approximately 500,000m³ of polluted water will be cleaned by the end of operations in 2025.

During the remaining run-time, control of the most important plant functions will be carried out via remote control and maintenance will be performed directly on site at regular intervals using the system controls in the technical container.

Apart from groundwater treatment, extensive rehabilitation work will be carried out on the grounds of the former railway car factory. "For projects of this kind, what we need above all are expertise, experience, technical capabilities and a strong team. We have already demonstrated this with the successful commissioning and smooth operation of the site, and hope to receive more follow-up orders in the future," remarked Unger in conclusion.

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