We are currently helping Lidl break new ground in Latvia on the first remediation project in the country.  

The supermarket is building a new store in the country’s capital city on a contaminated site in the capital city.

And it means ATG Group’s work in Riga is the first construction development to use remediation techniques.

Working under contract with local environmental services company VentEko, ATG Group is installing a barrier system to manage historical contamination. 

A radical plan was needed to protect the Sarkandaugava canal – which borders two sides of the site – after high concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons were discovered.

Remediation strategy

Traditionally, Latvian construction sites would opt for dig and dump of contaminated soil, but VentEko decided to look at a remediation strategy.

Using hydrogeological modelling in conjunction with Riga University, VentEko concluded that a barrier combined with impermeable surfacing on site to prevent infiltration was needed.

ATG Group was then contracted to use its technologically-advanced methods to build the barriers. They are being installed via a soil mix design using augers due to the high water table and unstable ground conditions. 

Installation of both permeable and impermeable barriers and a drainage design was being by staff from ATG Group, which has headquarters in Northern Ireland, and that work is currently being carried out.

Reduce pollution

Not only does the technique help clean pollution from more than 52,000 tones of soil, it is also helping reduce Lidl’s carbon footprint by cutting 324,000kg of CO2 emissions.

Managing Director Dr Mark McKinney said: “The Lidl contract has been exciting to be involved with. It highlights the challenge of developing contaminated brownfield sites and demonstrates how our innovative techniques can make a world of difference.

“Keeping in mind that there are 28,900 m3 of polluted soil at the site, removing it all would require digging enough soil to fill almost 12 Olympic sized swimming pools. This amount of soil weights around 52,020 tons. If we wanted to remove this soil to some spot outside Riga just 15km away, we would need about 3,468 round trips by lorries, which is a total of 104,040 km!”

Mikus Ķīsis, Lidl Latvia’s head of real estate, added: “This international groundwater remediation project is only the first step in Lidl’s project for redevelopment and regeneration of this land plot. Inhabitants of Sarkandaugava will benefit from a cleaner and well-maintained store area.”

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