Below-ground construction work on Terminal 3 has entered the homestretch. Since the ground-breaking ceremony in October 2015, excavators have removed around 670,000 m3 of earth from the ground. Due to its prior use, most of the material excavated from the site of the former U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base is contaminated with PFCs, or polyfluorinated and perfluorinated chemicals. These hazardous materials are relatively new in the field of contaminated site management, and there still are no Germany-wide regulations or permits for handling them. This is one of the reasons why the availability of suitable landfill capacity remains extremely limited.
Fraport is playing a pioneering role in dealing with contaminated excavated material. In addition to carefully analyzing the soil material in the area of the Terminal 3 building site, we are taking new approaches to the responsible handling of contaminated soil material and investigating other methods of recycling it. Until viable solutions are found, however, the material needs to be stored. Fraport has therefore applied to the responsible authority for permission to set up a new storage facility to be constructed at CargoCity South, in the area that is currently still used for long-term parking.
The application sets out a limited operating time for the storage facility. If approval is granted by the end of the year, construction of the facility will begin in the first half of 2020 and material will be able to be stored from late 2020 onward.
About PFCs: The textile industry uses PFCs in outdoor and work clothing because they repel water, grease, and dirt. PFCs are also found in pizza boxes, paper cups, and Teflon-coated cookware, and were previously used in firefighting foam. The latter is probably the reason for the contamination on the site of the former air base. A toxicological assessment has found that handling the excavated soil does not pose a risk to human health or the environment, so construction can proceed without additional safeguards.