Hazardous waste management specialist Augean could become the second UK company to process chemicals from Syria as part of an international effort to dismantle the country’s chemical weapons arsenal.
The Walton-based company has submitted a bid to a tender run by the international chemical weapon watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
As part of the bid, Augean proposed to process industrial chemicals and effluents that arise from the process of removing chemical weapons, as well as chemicals that have the potential to create chemical weapons, at its high temperature incinerator in Sandwich, East Kent.
Edward Pigg, director at Augean Integrated Services, stressed that the chemicals Augean would process are similar to the materials that arrive at the incinerator on a daily basis.
“Augean is pleased to be able to offer to assist international efforts to dispose of these chemicals in a safe and responsible manner,” he said. “High temperature incineration is amongst the few methods that can safely and securely ensure the complete destruction of chemical waste.”
Augean is the only fully UK-owned company of the 14 private firms that have submitted tenders to destroy 500 tonnes of Syrian chemicals.
A cross-country “temporary association” of waste management companies - Verein, Veolia, Remondis, and Indaver - is also among the bidders.
The OPCW is now conducting technical and commercial evaluations of the bids and will announce the winner or winners in early February.
The publication of the list of the bidders came just days after Veolia announced it will process some 150 tonnes of Syrian chemicals at its facility in Cheshire, as part of a separate initiative of the UK government to support the international effort to dismantle the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal.
The industrial-grade, dubbed “B-precursors”, will be disposed of at Veolia’s high temperature incinerator at Ellesmere Port under an existing contract with the Disposal Services Authority (DSA), part of the Ministry of Defence.
Cheshire West and Chester Council issued a statement to reassure residents that the materials did not contain explosive and were similar to standard industrial chemicals safely proceed by the plant every day.
The Syrian government agreed to the destruction of its chemical stockpile in September 2013 in a move that averted US missile strikes.
The ongoing conflict in Syria began in early 2011.