Claim 5000454 - Oil lakes remediation (US$2,259,285,969)

     This award of more than US$2 billion is the largest under the Follow-up Programme and involves the remediation and revegetation of 114 km² of oil contaminated desert surface:

  • Oil lakes: ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ formed by discharge of oil from damaged wellheads;
  • Oil-contaminated piles and raised roads: concentrations of contaminated soils made by earth-moving equipment to stop flow of oil-spills and fight fires;
  • Oil trenches: trenches dug by Iraqi forces and filled with crude;
  • Oil spills: the largest being near the Wadi al Batin (potentially important water resource), resulting from a rupture in Iraqi-built pipelines used to fill oil trenches.

     There are two elements under this award with projects plans in place for both elements:

Element 1: Remediation of areas damaged by oil lakes, oil-contaminated piles, oil trenches and oil spills (US$1,975,985,580)

The project plan to remediate these areas involves the following activities:

  • UXO clearance - mines and other ordnance to be detected and removed;
  • Construction of landfills;
  • Testing of alternative technologies over the course of 2014 aimed at reducing the volume of contaminated material to be landfilled and the number of landfills that will ultimately be required (the Governing Council authorized the use of US$15 million of the award funds for trials and experiments);
  • Excavation and transportation - excavation and disposal in 6-7 engineered hazardous material containment landfills for the most highly contaminated surface soils and sludge (estimated 26 million m³);
  • Bioremediation of the residual oil contamination in the soil after excavation;
  • Backfilling excavated areas with clean soils;
  • Environmental monitoring.

Element 2: Revegetation of areas damaged by oil lakes, oil-contaminated piles, oil trenches and oil spills (US$283,300,389)

  • The revegetation projects are to be implemented following the conclusion of the remediation projects under element 1;
  • Plans involve planting an area equal to 25 per cent of the oil lake areas, concentrating in topographically low areas to harvest water. The addition of organic soil amendments that are low in nutrients and slow to decompose should improve soil quality but field-testing will be required to determine the best organic materials.  Key activities to be undertaken include the selection of suitable sites for active revegetation, UXO survey, and development of a revegetation design; implementation of revegetation works (irrigation systems, initial and replacement planting, growth monitoring); and implementation of an ecological monitoring program.