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Processing drill sludge in the Gotthard base tunnel
23. September 2009

The Gotthard base tunnel through the Swiss Alps measures 57 kilometres in length and is covered by 2,000 metres of rock. World record! Construction sites as large as this make tough demands on waste disposal. 24 million tonnes of broken rock need to be removed together with the huge quantities of sludge water and concrete residue produced on a daily basis.

 

This calls for efficient processes that guarantee high operational safety around the clock. Groundbreaking plant concepts developed by Ammann Switzerland Ltd. have solved the problems of sludge water processing and residual concrete dewatering that faced Strabag, the company engaged to build the 11 and 7.5 kilometre long tunnel sections of the Gotthard North base tunnel at Amsteg and Erstfeld. Sludge from tunnel construction as well as drilling waste and sludge from suction vehicles need to be processed, in addition to waste water from the local concrete plant. The Ammann system in use has to handle material separation, water recovery and volume reduction.

 

The cleaned water is then made available for washing mixing machines or for processing concrete. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will be completed in 2017 and will be used exclusively for transport by rail.