The Project


On December 11th 2005, the largest explosion in peacetime Europe devastated the Buncefield oil terminal near Hemel Hempstead. Twenty fuel tanks caught fire, and fire services from all over the UK were called out to deal with the conflagration. The fire was put out a week later. The next urgent steps was to deal with the toxic firewater and leaking fuel; it was clear that a massive cleanup had to begin immediately to protect the local environment from potentially catastrophic contamination.

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The Solution


Many stakeholders and regulators were involved at Buncefield, and it was essential to appoint a contractor with the skills both to deal with the practical issues and to liaise effectively with all the interested parties. Adler and Allan won the contracts with both site operators (Total UK and the British Pipeline Association) to carry out all emergency works on and around the site.

Adler and Allan worked on the following;

  • Set up fully operational staffed office facilities, plant equipment and phone lines within 24 hours.
  • Liaised with EA, HSE, Fire Brigade and stakeholders at three daily meetings, supplying real-time data on works progress and health and safety, using the best available reporting techniques.
  • Uplifted and removed all hazardous liquids from the site in exceptionally quick timeframe, coordinated through our on-site hub linked to the terminals, Adler and Allan depots and offloading sites.
  • Processed and safely disposed of over 75 million litres of toxic waste under the close scrutiny of the EA.
  • Drained more than 20 tanks and connecting pipework and made them gas-free and safe for dismantling.
  • Refuelled most of the site plant for all contractors and agencies during the emergency phase of the clean-up.
  • Managed over 100 people on site at any one time in a potentially hazardous environment.
  • Received written acknowledgement by HSE of Adler and Allan's competence in HSE matters, following completion and acceptance of all risk assessment and method statement by on-site HSE.
  • Established close relation with Hertfordshire Fire Brigade (recognised by their 'Certificate of Appreciation' Award).

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The Outcome


The works were successfully completed to the full satisfaction of our client.