End in sight for Bowling remediation

As we approach the final stage of works to remediate the former Esso fuel terminal in Bowling, Scotland, Newsline spoke with James Hadwen, Project Developer EAME, to reflect on 10 remarkable years of partnership, planning and plenty of digging!  With works due for completion this month (April 2024), the site will be de-mobilised and closed down during May ahead of a formal sales transaction process in July. "This project has been years in the making, involving extensive planning and collaboration with regulators," James explains. "It's immensely satisfying to see the groundwork we laid out in our remedial strategy 10 years ago finally coming to fruition."

Whilst a successful outcome is now in sight, the remediation project has been a complex challenge, due to the site’s position on the banks of a major river which experiences 4.5 metre tidal fluctuations daily, and the presence of an active railway line traversing the site.  Stakeholders include two regulators, namely West Dunbartonshire Council (also the future owner) and SEPA (the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) as well as Network Rail, the Crown Estate and the local community.

At the outset, it was estimated that c220,000 cubic tonnes of contaminated material needed to be dug out and treated with a soil wash before being returned back to the ground. However, over time, it became clear that the scope was larger than planned, resulting in a 17% increase in the total volume of material that needed to be dug and washed across the site. 

James says this required additional resources and close coordination with regulators. “We've had to extend excavations and needed a lot more geotechnical support than originally planned as we've had to re-construct more of the river wall to keep the river at bay and to stabilise the railway line,” he adds. “All these things have required more expensive engineering. That said, there's been no big surprises in the sense that we haven't found anything that we didn't expect.  We've just had more of the same!   Overall, the project's gone very well.”

James is pleased with the project’s sustainability credentials too as up to 94% of the material excavated has been re-used as backfill. This has resulted in little waste needing to be sent off-site.  "Our project serves as a prime example of sustainable practices in action," James asserts. "It's gratifying to see our commitment to environmental stewardship yielding tangible results in this project - believed to be the largest of its kind currently underway in Scotland."

As we near the project's conclusion, James takes a moment to express his gratitude to the team for their hard work and dedication throughout the journey.  "We've faced our fair share of challenges, but the dedication and resilience of our team and contractors has been unwavering," he reflects. "It's truly a testament to our collective effort that we've navigated through these hurdles with efficiency and professionalism.

"I'd like to extend my thanks to each member of the team for their invaluable contributions including the five or six Esso people who've been assigned to this project over the last 15 years, our principal designers at WSP, our remediation specialist team from DEME Environmental UK and local Glaswegian firm AFP.

Following the site handover, James will move onto a new role as EAME demolition lead where he will be helping to implement and oversee a programme of active demolition works inside some of our bigger refineries to remove derelict assets that are no longer needed and make space for new equipment.