Leblanc Alkali Wastes, Widnes

Remediation of ICI Coal Stockyard / former Atlas Chemical Works, Hutchinson Street, Widnes.

  • remediation of industrial contamination from copper smelting, sulphur production and soda manufacture across 2.5ha at the gateway to Widnes
  • screening and excavation for disposal of incompatible hazardous asbestos, organic and sulphuric acid wastes
  • regrading of Leblanc chemical wastes and cement stabilisation to construct a low permeability, high strength capping over the site
  • construction of new land drainage system and soil covers for development of recreation facilities
  • demonstration project for pioneering stabilisation of Leblanc wastes

SGP environmental consultancy tasks

  • desk study, intrusive site investigations and design of remediation
  • quantitative environmental risk assessments and securing of regulatory approvals 
  • production of detailed designs and contract documents for tender and funding grant application 
  • environmental monitoring of toxic arsine and hydrogen sulphide gases, dust, and soil compatibility with stabilisation product

Key facts


  • 1995 SGP investigations commenced
  • 2003 Site remediation commenced and completed

Project cost - £1.4 million

Client / Engineer: Halton Borough Council

Contractor: Brock plc / Powerbetter

Funded by: Northwest Development Agency grant / landfill tax credits.


The Leblanc process was the foundation of the early chemical industry in Britain, and produced sodium carbonate (soda) used in glass, soap and textile manufacturing. Large volumes of calcium sulphide waste were produced and the process was highly polluting, leading to numerous legal actions and the passing of the Alkali Acts. Leblanc wastes can still be hazardous and very unstable, meaning that extensive former deposit grounds in the middle of Widnes and St Helens have remained blighted. Smith Grant LLP has extensive experience of reclaiming Leblanc wastes at former manufacturing sites, including schemes in St Helens, Widnes, Flint and Birmingham.

About Company

Smith Grant LLP has been providing independent and expert environmental consultancy advice since its establishment in 1993.

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