Back to the future: Soil replacement in Magdeburg

Magdeburg, Germany – From valves and gate valves to taps: In the past, more than 6,000 different products were manufactured in Magdeburg’s traditional fitting plant. At one time, more than 8,000 employees worked here. But production stopped in 1996 for economic reasons. The 220,000 m² site remained empty for almost 20 years until it was redeveloped into a commercial area. The Bauer Umwelt Division of BAUER Resources GmbH is now preparing the ground there by means of replacement boring to ensure a successful new start.

The preliminary work began in July 2022, financed by the State Office for Brownfield Rehabilitation of Saxony-Anhalt and the State Office for Construction and Property Management of Saxony-Anhalt, in the center of the industrial site in the former workers’ district of Stadtfeld West. Here, around 5,600 m³ of soil first had to be excavated and roughly 870 m³ of building foundation had to be removed. After that, a BG 28 rig was brought in to work on the soil for the replacement. “The soil contained clay, which made it difficult to process,” reports Thomas Switalla, Site Manager at BAUER Spezialtiefbau GmbH. Meter by meter, the experienced machine operator worked down to a depth of 9 m below ground level. There, roughly 3,350 m³ of contaminated soil had to be drilled out with a drilling diameter of 1,500 mm and then replaced with new material.

What sounds easy was for the most part hard work for his team, explains Site Manager Lutz Hupfer from the Bauer Umwelt Division of BAUER Resources GmbH: “Due to the degree of contamination, work was carried out in the black zone. This requires lots of experience and absolute safety for the operator and the environment.” For this reason, employees were equipped with special suits, shoes and gloves including face masks and respiratory masks. “Limited working phases and subsequent breaks had to be followed precisely,” continues Lutz Hupfer. At the same time, a special exhaust air purification plant ensured that the contaminated air was extracted permanently during drilling.

At the end of the replacement boring, roughly 20,000 t of contaminant remain, which will be transported to a soil treatment center in gas-tight and impermeable containers. Furthermore, a groundwater treatment plant is used to clean roughly 110 m³ of polluted groundwater.

The site is planned for commercial use by next year already. Then life will finally return to this brownfield site where Magdeburg’s history was once written.


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