Site history

site-history

A large part of this site, along with what is now Battery Retail Park, was once home to the Birmingham Battery & Metal Company, which was founded in the first half of the 19th Century and moved here in the 1870s.

Later known as the Birmingham Battery Company, the firm manufactured brass pans at the site, ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter. The site also featured a copper refinery, a tube mill, a rolling mill and a canal wharf on the Dudley Canal, also known locally as the Lapal Canal.

In the decades to follow, part of the site became an area for landfill, which was later covered with a layer of clay. Due to this, and the industrial history of the site, a huge amount of ash, coal tar and other contaminated materials remained buried underground.

Our works include cleaning up the land ready for future construction to take place. This has required a detailed remediation strategy involving lots of research and planning, and a very scientific approach.

The science behind the remediation

selly-oak-science

In order to make the site ready for construction, our contractors have combined advanced planning and an innovative remediation strategy. We’re reprofiling the landscape and methodically tackling all the different types of waste material as we go.

Significant areas of the site are highly contaminated and include commercial and industrial waste from when it was used for landfill. Hot ash and coal tar have had to be treated as well as other materials in amongst the soil and rubble.

Therefore, careful and meticulous testing of soil samples has been taking place in our on-site laboratory, where we’ve been checking for hydrocarbons and heavy metals.

We then treat each area or ‘waste stream’ accordingly in our Soil Hospital, making sure the right thing is done with all the different chemicals and materials.

Some of the waste was up to 14 metres below ground and we are also dealing with electricity pylons, high voltage underground cables and gas mains. However, the site poses no risk to public health and we also have strict air monitoring and dust suppression measures in place.

The clean-up works began in June 2014 and will be finished early in 2016. By then we will have made safe and reused over 90% of the excavated material without it ever having to leave the site.

In addition, the remaining waste is being treated to the extent that it can be safely taken away and used as refuse derived fuel, a sustainability achievement we are extremely proud of.