PCB clean-up on behalf of the United Nations


Courtesy of Envio Recycling GmbH & Co. KG

The Environmental Services group of ABB won a contract from the United Nations (UNOPS) for the clean-up and of a PCB spill in Yugoslavia and for the disposal of the resulting PCB wastes. This project is the first clean-up of environmental damage, which was caused by the air raids during the Kosovo war in1999. In the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac, approximately 150km south-east from Belgrade, two transformers containing PCB oils were destroyed by NATO air strikes. The transformers were located in the paint hall of the factory.


The highly contaminated PCB oil spilled from the damaged transformer and collected in two sediment basins underneath the paint hall. As a result, the concrete floor of the paint hall was soaked with PCB, and 176 tonnes of paint sludge in the basins were contaminated with PCBs.


The task of ABB is the removal and remediation of the contaminated area - approx. 200 m² - of the paint hall floor, and the safe disposal of PCB waste from the Zastava factory. It involves to break up the contaminated concrete – following strict safety precautions, such as the complete enclosure of the work area - and to pack the concrete in special containers. The floor will the be covered with a new lining of concrete and epoxy resin. All resulting PCB wastes from this operation, the contaminated paint sludge, as well as PCB wastes stored in the factory before the air raids, will be packed into safety containers for hazardous waste, and transported to the respective waste disposal facilities. All recoverable wastes, e.g. the transformers, will be treated in the PCB recycling facility of ABB in Dortmund, the other waste types, in particular the paint sludge, will be destroyed in a special hazardous waste incineration plant in Switzerland.


The Environmental Services group dispatched two experienced clean-up specialists from its headquarters in Dortmund, Germany, who will assure the execution of all on-site works in compliance with all applicable health and environmental safety standards. They are assisted by staff of the Zastava car factory, who will be trained and equipped for dealing with PCBs. Zastava staff and local companies will also perform the laying of the new concrete end epoxy as a subcontract within the ABB scope of works.


'ABB Environmental Services', which realized the project at the Zastava car factory in Serbia, was acquired by Envio group in 2004.

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