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Coleraine firm’s Lidl Latvia link

A Coleraine environmental services company ATG Group is helping supermarket firm Lidl break new ground on a store site in Latvia.

The ATG Group is using innovative and eco-friendly technology to lock in contaminates in the soil where a supermarket will be built in the capital city of Riga.

ATG Group’s work means remediation techniques are being used for the first time in the Baltic country, which will prevent pollution entering a canal.

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The work being carried out means contaminated soil does not need to be transported, which is the usual method.

Dr Mark McKinney chatting with VentEko’s CEO Arta Bažovska and Lidl Latvija Board member Arunas Dzikas

As a result, it is reducing Lidl’s carbon footprint by cutting 324,000kg of CO2 emissions.

Lidl called in Coleraine-based ATG Group to help deal with the polluted site where the groundwater is contaminated.

Using a method developed by the Loughanhill Industrial Estate-based firm will massively reduce the amount of dissolved metals reaching the nearby Sarkandaugava canal.

Excavation of the site was also ruled out because almost 28,9000 cubic metres of soil are exposed to waste oil.

Working on-going at the site in Latvia

Underground blocking and filtering walls are being created to help clean pollution from more than 52,000 tons of soil.

ATG Group is working with Riga-based VentEko on the project, which is the first time the Coleraine-based company has worked in Latvia.

Managing Director Dr Mark McKinney said: “The Lidl contract has been an exciting project to be involved with. It highlights the challenge of developing contaminated brownfield sites and demonstrates how our innovative techniques can make a world of difference.

“Keeping in mind that there are 28,900 m3 of polluted soil involved, removing it all would require digging enough soil to fill almost 12 Olympic sized swimming pools.

“This amount of soil weights around 52,020 tons. If we wanted to remove this soil to some spot outside Riga just 15km away, we would need about 3,468 round trips by lorries, which is a total of 104,040 km!”

Mikus Ķīsis, Lidl Latvia’s head of real estate, added: “This international groundwater remediation project is only the first step in Lidl’s project for redevelopment and regeneration of this land plot.

“Inhabitants of Sarkandaugava will benefit from a cleaner and well-maintained store area.”

ATG Group was formed in 2006 by Dr Mark McKinney. The firm was awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2020.