TGN Soil Remediation – Urban Artery

Anna Lindorfer, Marian Schmuck

The approach in general focuses on Tarragona‘s port and its industrial area. Based on a research about soil remediation, we developed a concept using bio- and phyto-remediation as design strategies. The main site is located between urban and industrial area, contrasts we want to overcome. A riverfront with many barriers like walls and different  floor levels, without much possibilities to cross, is currently separating the city and the industrial area. Furthermore no attempt was made to locate added-value-activities in the industrial fabric. Our focus lies on the connection of the two parts. On the one hand a material connection of different activities will be established by a continuous path, bridging the river. On the other hand, a petrochemical industrial site will be transformed into a chronically growing pattern of new urban activities and green zones. The new link will set up a sustainable infrastructure, strengthen local industry and services, establish diverse green areas in the urban surrounding and avoid petrochemical industry with introducing new opportunities to become Tarragona‘s sustinable drive.

The activities located in the industrial area polygon francolí in the west of Tarragona are whole trade, mechanical means, chemical and petrochemical industry as well as activities connected to the port like a food market, storage surfaces and loading surfaces. Polygon francolí is facing the façade of the city, which is divided apart by the river. Over the next twenty-five years the area will be transformed, green will be spread to the surrounding, new offices will be high-rose, inducting restaurants, leisure and apartments buildings.

Usually gas stations or sites used for fuel storage contain following organic pollutants: TPH (total petroleum hydrocarbons), BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene) and plumb as an inorganic pollutant. Plumb is not degradable in soil and very tightly bound. Without an active intervention by a method of soil remediation, their content remains permanently the same. If there are also methods for cleaning, they are not applicable in large areas. BTEX are volatile organic compounds. As raw materials, the BTEX are important for petrochemistry.  They are light volatile aromatic hydrocarbons, which can come from certain solvents, old fuel deposits, gases from motor vehicles or as pollutants into the groundwater. Benzene is a carcinogenic substance that is important as a component of petrol, eg at petrol stations. Toluene and xylenes are poisonous in high concentrations for the nervous system. source:

Plumb can be remediated by phytoremediation.  Therefore trees like poplar, willow, pine,… can be used.  Those trees are native in the area of Tarragona. Furthermore, also bushes of mulberry can help cleaning up plumb in the soil, those will be used on currently remediating parts in our proposal.

TPH and BTEX can be cleaned up by in-situ bioremediation.
sources: and EPA Guidelines 2005 South Australia

1 olympic park
A high level of material reuse should be the norm on all projects and can be achieved without the project costing that much more — project manager of Atkins Martyn Lass Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a sporting complex built for the 2012 Summer Olympics in the east of London, UK. Before, the area was an under-served community with industries dating back hundreds of years – some heavily contaminated. After the selection to become the Olympic Park, the remediation process had to be completed in 2 years, while usually remediation schemes of a similar size take 10 to 15 years. The remediation of chemicals, glue, and other industrial landfill debris became UK’s largest soil-washing operation. The remediation plan divided the Park into zones so that sites requiring longer build times could be completed sooner. A cut-and- fill strategy used excavated materials in  foundations beneath sport venues. That means, that after the remediation phase, polluted soil will still be at the site, remediation with time in the ground. The figure shows the anticipated residual level of contamination after remediation works. Contaminated soil was treated using a variety of techniques including bioremediation, soil washing, and chemical and geotechnical stabilisation. 80%, 1,7 million cubic metres, of the contaminated soil could be reused. A new bioremediation technique was applied to treat groundwater with ammonia: Archaea, naturally occurring microorganisms that thrive in extreme conditions degrading ammonia biologically, were inserted into boreholes. As Archaea “ate” the ammonia, several other reagents, including oxygen-released compounds, were injected into other groundwater areas to remove contaminants. source: www.atkins-

2 emscher park
Recognizing the value of the site’s current condition
The Emscher Park is a public park located in Germany, designed in 1991 by Latz + Partner. The park (457 sqkm) associates itself with the past use of the site: a coal and steel production plant, abandoned in 1985, which left the area significantly polluted. The polluted soils are remained in place and remediated through phytoremediation. High toxic soils are sequestered in the existing bunkers. The former sewage canal is turned into a method of
cleaning the site. The park is divided into different areas, carefully developed by looking at existing conditions, such as how the site had been divided by existing roads and railways, what types of plants had begun to grow in each area,… Latz also emphasized specific programmatic elements: the concrete bunkers create a space for intimate gardens, old gas tanks have become pools for scuba divers, concrete walls are used by rock climbers, and the most
central place of the factory has been made into piazza. sources: www. and

We want to establish a connection between the seperated parts of the city. This connection works like an artery: It links different organs of the city to bring to live dead parts. The link focuses on sports and cultural facilites, but also commercial and leisure activites are linked. Not only the core of Tarragona but also smaller settlements like La Granja, Torreforta, Camp Clar and Bonavista will profit from the new urban pulse.
The polluted soil of former petrochemical storages will turn into green parks with biotopes, rewood plantations, fruit trees and other plants, using bio-and phytoremediation. The bioremediation process uses bacteria to consume hydrocarbons and other pollutants and transforms it into harmless compounds as CO2 and water. The phytoremediation is cost-effective as it uses trees to concentrate elements and harmful compounds to metabolize various molecules in their tissues.
As Tarragona‘s population declined slightly in the last years, it counts now 130.000. Our vision expects a growth of Tarragona, espacially in the nowadays industrial poligon francoli (red). This growth makes the area lively, so more and more people will stay there. This drive will as well pump
life into to arteries of the east of Tarragona (black) inducting an increase of inhabitants.
As we want to decline the release of CO2 gases, the petrochemical industry site will be shut down. Although while the process of bioremediation, CO2 will be released from the soil. To compensate, bioremediation will be combined with phytoremediation, where around 100 trees will be planted. Late, when planting the park sited, 600 more trees will be planted to capture CO2.

The transformation introduces four key actions: greening, connecting, sports and culture. Bioremediation will take place on different fields. First, lightly polluted fields will be remediated, later the remediation of highly polluted soil begins in different stages. While a field is remediated, it will be activated by temporary art installations, creative spaces or temporal landscapes like lakes, which will be erected on the remediating area.
Meanwhile the surrounding is transforming as well: New bridges and lane tracks cross the green areas, linking diverse existing culture and leisure institutions of Tarragona, sports and culture facilities will be constructed on the site next to the tracks. One of the fuel tanks will be saved and adapted to be an info point, as initial facility of information for the whole transformation it is placed next to the main artery. The surface of the old car park will be used as a flee market and informal square to gather. An old warehouse will be converted into sports halls and soccer and volleyball space are set up in the park. Furthermore, the old administration building will be renovated and changed into a market. Another warehouse
will become an art space, where exhibitions and workshops can take place. Our vision goes on, even after more than twenty- five years. Tarragona will grow, driven by the pulse of its new arteries, which conduct the construction of office buildings and green industries, mixed with surfaces for energy production, urban gardening and municipal green. Those values will create a sustainable future for Tarragona.


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