Ecologia Environmental Solutions
An expert in its field, Ecologia is an environmental contractor and consultancy providing site investigation and remediation services.
With a number of different divisions including drilling services and emergency response, Ecologia is able to tackle a wide variety of environmental projects and is a UK Spill Association accredited oil spill response contractor. Employing a team of qualified experts Ecologia prides itself on producing bespoke tailored services for each individual job rather than a standardised response.
Ecologia employs 50 people and has a number of offices across the UK, including its head offices in Kent and offices in Devon, Stafford and Northern Ireland. The company also operates within other parts of Europe, particularly in Italy from its Bologna office.
Ecologia offers a range of land and groundwater contaminant remediation services using ex-situ and in-situ techniques. Ex-situ remediation requires the removal of contaminated soil or groundwater prior to treatment, whereas in-situ remediation allows for the treatment of contamination without removing the soil. This technique is ideal for sites close to buildings or businesses and to allow treatment at depths where it would be difficult to excavate.
Tom Hayes, director of Ecologia, elaborates on the company’s set-up: “Essentially we go out and clean up contaminants in land and groundwater – this could be following a specific pollution incident such as the failure of an above ground storage tank. We work on brownfield sites such as derelict industrial sites, which are to be redeveloped for housing and petrol filling stations, which may be contaminated underneath. We also offer a consultancy aspect where we investigate a site and collect samples to establish what the problem is, before developing a solution.”
It is Ecologia’s ability to provide both consultancy and contractor services that is one of its key strengths. Tom expands on the company’s multi-disciplinary approach: “The industry is usually split up into consultants and contractors, so our ability to cover both those angles is a real benefit. We also have an internal drilling division allowing us to drill our own bore holes, which is quite rare within the industry. This means we can provide clients with fixed price contracts, so they know exactly what
the process will cost.”
He carries on to describe Ecologia’s client base: “We have a wide spectrum of clients from major oil companies to smaller organisations. Some of our main clients are insurance companies who often pick up the tab for pollution incidents. At the moment we’re working with Huntsman at one of its facilities in Italy and are cleaning the site without any loss of operational time, which is extremely important to them. We’re providing a complete service as contractor and consultant, and by creating a bespoke solution have allowed the business to continue without shutting down any parts of the site.”
Working within such potentially dangerous conditions means health and safety is of paramount importance to Ecologia. Tom explains how Ecologia maintains it’s high safety standards: “We have a full time internal health and safety officer which is unusual for a company of our size, but we believe it is vital to the company as the work we do is so varied and potentially dangerous. We are accredited to health and safety standard ISO 18001, which will ensure consistency across the company.”
Another challenge Ecologia faces is meeting clients’ deadlines. Even using on site investigation, it can be very difficult to pinpoint exactly what is beneath the ground. Ecologia’s adaptability and range of remediation techniques mean the company is able to deal with any unexpected findings and complete projects on time.
The hazardous nature of contaminants means that remediation techniques need to meet certain standards of quality. Tom describes how Ecologia sets its standards: “It is a very site specific process taking into account a number of factors. A site has to be determined as being fit for purpose, if it’s going to be used for housing it will need to be a lot cleaner than if it were to remain an industrial site. Regardless of the site use, we need to remove risks to the wider environment such as contaminants in groundwater but it’s the human health risks that make the big difference. A common comparison is between someone’s back garden and a supermarket car park. A site that is going to be covered in hard surfacing won’t have anyone coming into contact with the soil, breathing the dust or growing vegetables.”
As part of its overall package, Ecologia uniquely designs and manufactures its own remediation equipment. This innovative approach means Ecologia can easily incorporate new developments in technology. “We have researched and developed an in-situ technology which uses radio waves to heat the ground by 60 degrees centigrade. At this temperature the contaminants volatilise off and we remove them with a vacuum. This technology has only been present in the US previously, so we are the first to use it in Europe,” says Tom.
Looking to the future, Ecologia sees many opportunities within the market to grow and develop. Tom concludes: “There is some uncertainty in the industry with the new Government but a lot of environmental legislation operates on a European level and therefore is unlikely to be affected. We want to continue to move into handling more sites for clients as both contractor and consultant, so we can tackle larger and more complex sites and simplify the process for clients as well. Currently we’re fielding enquiries for work in China and some in Australia so we’re on the cusp of moving into markets outside of Europe.”
Ecologia Environmental Solutions
Services: Environmental contractor and consultancy