We can all still well remember the terrible disaster on August 4th last year in the port of Beirut, when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded and entire neighborhoods were reduced to rubble. Around 200 people lost their lives, countless people were injured and the long-term traumatic consequences for the city’s population are still difficult to predict.
In the meantime, 52 shipping containers stored in the Beirut port have been identified, which contain other dangerous substances and some of them are severely damaged. Two colleagues from HÖPPNER have been on site for eight weeks and initially inspected the freight. What hazardous substances are present? How bad is the damage to the packaging? What dangers do the substances pose? How high is the risk of hazardous substances escaping? All these questions had to be clarified in a timely manner. Since the end of November, the damaged containers have been unloaded and the hazardous materials repackaged in secure containers approved for the transport of hazardous goods.
HÖPPNER developed the waste management concept for hazardous substances in the port of Beirut. In addition to inspecting the damaged bins and containers on site, we are responsible for the classification of the hazardous waste. We organize and monitor the salvage of the hazardous substances and are responsible for the outer packaging and the safety of the workers on site. In addition, the notification for cross-border shipments of hazardous waste is implemented by HÖPPNER. Together with Combi Lift from Bremen, the hazardous materials are then to be transferred to Europe for specific disposal.
Michael Wentler, Managing Director of Höppner Management & Consultant GmbH: “Accidents are always bad events. However, the situation here exceeds everything I have seen so far in terms of consequential damage and errors in the storage of hazardous substances and I am very shocked by the people affected. We are now doing everything we can to initiate the professional disposal of all hazardous materials here in the port and hope to be able to make our contribution to restoring normalcy for the local population.”
The project in Beirut is set at the highest level. As a result of the explosion and the damage caused, national and international attention is now being paid to the treatment and disposal of other potentially hazardous substances that are stored in the port. The professional and material-appropriate salvage, treatment and disposal of hazardous substances after accidents is a highly explosive specialist area and requires expertise in different areas. As an environmental, waste and occupational safety professional, HÖPPNER can draw on many years of experience in dangerous goods management after accidents. At the beginning of November, the local partners, the owner of the Assouad Group, Mr. Elias Assouad, the German ambassador in Beirut, Mr. Andreas Kindl, the general of the Lebanese army, the head of the environment ministry in Lebanon and the president of the Port of Beirut a picture. Together with Combi Lift Salvage GmbH & Co. KG, the contract for the recovery, transport and disposal of the hazardous waste was signed with the Port of Beirut.
By the end of January 2021, the repackaging and loading of the hazardous substances should be carried out under strict safety precautions. To date, around 1,000 buckets have been filled with sodium hydroxide, 345 IBC containers with various chemicals such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, acetone and thinners, and around 160 drums with methyl bromide and prepared for transport. Once the notification has been made, a Combilift cargo ship will be sent on its way to take the hazardous waste to Wilhelmshaven. Nehlsen Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG accepts the waste in Wilhelmshaven and takes it to the various disposal facilities for further treatment.