Stockpile Remediation Works at RAAF Base Darwin

Project Overview

RAAF Base Darwin is one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s main forward operating bases. It is located 6.5km north-east of the City of Darwin and shares the runway with Darwin International Airport. The stockpile remediation works at RAAF Base Darwin were undertaken in order to decontaminate the existing Defence Base site.

Scope of Work

McMahon Services was engaged by project managers Jacobs to undertake design and construction of an onsite containment cell and the haulage of 70,000m³ of asbestos containing material from an existing stockpile location on RAAF Base Darwin to a designated site within the confines of the base in accordance with the concept design. Works included underground service locations, geotechnical investigations, 90,000m³ of bulk earthworks, groundwater monitoring, PFAS in soil, strict environmental monitoring and controls, erosion and sediment control, traffic management, contamination management and waste classification.

Soil materials were screened by a qualified environmental consultant for visual and olfactory indicators of contamination prior to stockpiling. All materials were stockpiled in a bunded area and wherever possible, materials that were assessed as being similar, were stockpiled together.

Asbestos and PFAS containing soils were compacted in layers in accordance with Australian Standards. A 1.2m capping layer was installed over the entire containment cell using locally won fill materials. Air monitoring was conducted during all fill placement activities to ensure compliance with asbestos regulations was met.

As works were undertaken in an operational Defence Base. A 3.2km haul road ran between the extraction and containment site cells traversed the western end of the airport runway requiring site specific traffic management plans and were operational on site at all times.

Workforce peaked at nineteen personnel completing 27,500 work hours without incurring a single safety or environmental incident. Three Indigenous personnel were employed achieving a 4% Indigenous Participation rate for the project.

Upon completing compaction of the containment cell, a thorough rehabilitation strategy was undertaken to restore the area to its former condition and match with the surrounding environment. A 12 month on-care period was managed to ensure the rehabilitation strategy remained effective and the site was audited quarterly to ensure compliance.

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