The controversial interim storage facility for contaminated soil from the construction of Terminal 3 at Frankfurt Airport has been approved. But it looks like it is no longer needed.
The regional council in Darmstadt (RP) has approved a controversial interim storage facility for the contaminated soil from the construction of the new terminal for the Frankfurt airport operator Fraport. The permission was granted and limited to five years, said a spokesman for the RP on Monday. The documents are expected to be available to the public in December.
Critics worry about groundwater and the environment
Well over 100 people and organizations objected to the planned storage facility at the airport in the summer. These concerned, among other things, waste classification and disposal, groundwater and soil protection, air and noise emissions and nature conservation.
What is PFC?
PFC actually stands for per- and polyfluorinated chemicals. Due to their water, dirt and grease repellent properties, these are used in impregnation sprays and frying pan coatings. The substance is suspected of causing cancer.
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The problem: During the construction of Terminal 3, immense amounts of soil are produced that are contaminated with polyfluorinated chemicals (PFC). The airport operator Fraport is now assuming a total amount of excess land of 470,000 cubic meters – 70,000 cubic meters more than last estimated. The increase is due to corona-related changes in the construction process at Terminal 3, according to Fraport on Monday.
Chemicals presumably from foam
According to Fraport, the residues at Frankfurt Airport probably come from extinguishing foam that was used on the former US airbase. Due to a modified measurement method, the high PFC concentration was only noticed during the construction work for the new terminal. Correspondingly contaminated soil may only be disposed of in landfills designed for this purpose.
Because last winter it was still unclear by when the polluted earth could be properly disposed of, Fraport had applied for the construction of an interim storage facility with a capacity of 600,000 cubic meters. The company is now confident that it will be able to transport 75 percent of the contaminated excavated earth this year – by train, ship and truck to reception points in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Eastern Germany.
“We are still on the right track to properly and completely remove the contaminated soil material,” said CEO Stefan Schulte on Monday. The removal should be completed by the middle of next year. “If there are no unexpected delays, we will not build the approved storage facility,” said Schulte.
Broadcast: hr3, November 30th, 2020, 1 p.m.