Buried chemical waste hazard

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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby RDR » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:01 pm

jock78 wrote:I regularly worked there in the 1950s setting out new track alignments as an engineer with the then, British Railways.

I recall there was a 'hot metal road' on which hot ingots were transported from the ironworks to the steelworks. Due to their heat and weight, the sleepers were at 18 inch centres rather than the regular 30 inches.
The place was a bit like Dantie's Inferno!


You knew when they had opened the furnace doors at night time. The whole sky would light up red above the cooling towers. Quite spectacular.
He advocated for the weak against the strong, the poor against the rich and labour against capital.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Lawman » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:46 pm

I wish I could have seen that! I was born late '87, it didn't have many years after that! :(
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Marko » Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:49 am

RDR wrote:You knew when they had opened the furnace doors at night time. The whole sky would light up red above the cooling towers. Quite spectacular.


I still remember that, as I suspect do all residents of the Motherwell (and especially Craigneuk) areas from the days of the 'Craig. We were In North Motherwell, about 3 miles from Ravenscraig, and we could still hear the enormous roar that accompanied the orange glow when the furnaces opened. God knows what it must've sounded like to the folks who lived next to it, I expect there were a lot of earplugs sold round there!

For all that, it' was a sight and sound that are sorely missed now :(

Just realised I sound as if I'm about 90 in that post ::):
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby mercury » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:48 am

You knew when they had opened the furnace doors at night time. The whole sky would light up red above the cooling towers. Quite spectacular.[/quote]
That's how Dixon's Blazes got it's name. Down and outs used to sleep on the slag heaps to keep warm, one night the crust broke and the men were killed. The Templeton Carpet factory was built on the site and men who worked on the night shift claim to have seen figures in corridors but as they got closer the figures dissapeared. 8O
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby RDR » Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:09 pm

mercury wrote:You knew when they had opened the furnace doors at night time. The whole sky would light up red above the cooling towers. Quite spectacular.

That's how Dixon's Blazes got it's name. Down and outs used to sleep on the slag heaps to keep warm, one night the crust broke and the men were killed. The Templeton Carpet factory was built on the site and men who worked on the night shift claim to have seen figures in corridors but as they got closer the figures dissapeared. 8O[/quote]

Funnily enough, when I was wee I lived not to far from Dixon's Blazes and remember it as you describe it. The I end up in Motherwell, with the 'Craig furnace's as well!
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Socceroo » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:00 am

jock78 wrote:......Having played in such dumps in the 40s and later as a civil engineer surveyed such locations, even found clinical waste dumped in a hospital grounds in the past, I am little concerned that all such sites are fully recorded and taken account of in the City's planning UDP such that development on them is properly controlled.......
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Legislation dictates sites which are proposed for development have site investigations undertaken to identify ground conditions. Part of that process is a desk study to ascertain the previous use of the site. Brownfield (previously developed) sites will have chemical analysis undertaken to identify any contamination etc. A remediation plan is then produced and submitted to the local authority Planning and Building Standards for their sign off / site inspection etc.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Socceroo » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:17 am

RDR wrote: That's how Dixon's Blazes got it's name. Down and outs used to sleep on the slag heaps to keep warm, one night the crust broke and the men were killed. The Templeton Carpet factory was built on the site and men who worked on the night shift claim to have seen figures in corridors but as they got closer the figures dissapeared. 8O


The Templeton carpet factory buildings are north of the River Clyde (on the north side of Glasgow Green), and Dixon Blazes Industrial Estate (site of the former steelworks) is on the south of the Clyde (south west of Glasgow Green).

Templeton's had factories in Paisley and surrounding areas and the Calton (prior to Glasgow Green). Did they build a factory on the Dixon Blazes site at any point?
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby jock78 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:15 pm

Re Soccaroo's comment about a desktop study of brownfield sites.

My point was about chemical waste being dumped in a number of sites which I know about by numerous agencies over extensive areas. This is not information easily obtained by any desk-top study but only from local knowledge.

Sites such as the extensive whinstone quarries of Dennistoun and the large, previously derelict area between the Monkland Canal and the Molindinar east of Milnbank Street which had been in previous industrial use ( Bleach-works?).
A desk top study would identify the previous use but not how, if and when dumping had taken place. Only an extensive series of boreholes specifically taking in a manor such that it could identify individual components which had been previously deposited would be necessary.
I note that both these extensive areas had in fact been developed over the past 60 years. Has such a study been done prior to development?
Would present day planners even be aware of this previously unrecorded dumping?
I strongly suspect that such dumped areas have been simply levelled-off and capped, and indeed, removing any such contaminants would raise additional problems of disposal.

jock 78 MRTPI (ret)
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby mercury » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:47 pm

Socceroo wrote:
RDR wrote: That's how Dixon's Blazes got it's name. Down and outs used to sleep on the slag heaps to keep warm, one night the crust broke and the men were killed. The Templeton Carpet factory was built on the site and men who worked on the night shift claim to have seen figures in corridors but as they got closer the figures dissapeared. 8O


The Templeton carpet factory buildings are north of the River Clyde (on the north side of Glasgow Green), and Dixon Blazes Industrial Estate (site of the former steelworks) is on the south of the Clyde (south west of Glasgow Green).

Templeton's had factories in Paisley and surrounding areas and the Calton (prior to Glasgow Green). Did they build a factory on the Dixon Blazes site at any point?

When Templeton's closed their Brigton sites they moved to a purpose built factory on Dixon's Blazes. The factories in Paisley were Stoddarts Carpets although the companies did merge in 1981. The merger saw production stop in Glasgow (some merger :roll:) with Dixon's being used for warehousing and seaming (sewing sections of carpet together) and sample book construction. After about a year they moved out and took a small unit in the Templeton Business Centre(sic) which lasted about another year before closing. A.A. Brothers took over the site for their Castle Cash & Carry. The site was later cleared although the perimeter wall and gates are still standing at the bottom or Caledonia Rd.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby moonbeam » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:46 pm

Down near Balloch I seem to recall radium being found from some chemical works that existed around 1920.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby old jock » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:24 am

I'm sure there was a thread on that already I searched but didn't find anything (possibly on "The other place")

It was near the marina I think and a cafe had been built on it. When the owner wanted to extend the premises he found a huge slab and was told in no uncertain terms not to disturb it because of the danger of radioactive waste being buried below it. I'm paraphrasing form a poor memory, but I do remember hearing about it

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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby jock78 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:12 am

Yes it was waste from extraction of radium for medical use from 'pitchblend'.
Apparently. there was a source of this mineral somewhere in Scotland. It would be interesting to find where, and also where the processing took place as this could simply be fly tipping until it was identified as potentially hazardous.

Possibly not related, but apparently the radio active isotope 'strontian 90' is called after a Scottish place name.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Socceroo » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:22 pm

jock78 wrote:Re Soccaroo's comment about a desktop study of brownfield sites.

My point was about chemical waste being dumped in a number of sites which I know about by numerous agencies over extensive areas. This is not information easily obtained by any desk-top study but only from local knowledge.

Sites such as the extensive whinstone quarries of Dennistoun and the large, previously derelict area between the Monkland Canal and the Molindinar east of Milnbank Street which had been in previous industrial use ( Bleach-works?).
A desk top study would identify the previous use but not how, if and when dumping had taken place. Only an extensive series of boreholes specifically taking in a manor such that it could identify individual components which had been previously deposited would be necessary.
I note that both these extensive areas had in fact been developed over the past 60 years. Has such a study been done prior to development?
Would present day planners even be aware of this previously unrecorded dumping?
I strongly suspect that such dumped areas have been simply levelled-off and capped, and indeed, removing any such contaminants would raise additional problems of disposal.

jock 78 MRTPI (ret)


All brownfield sites and most greenfield sites these days have bore holes, trial pits and chemical analysis of the soils as part of their site investigation. The desk study is only part of the steer towards what the testing regime is likely to be. Further testing of any soil going off site from excavations, or to be relocated elsewhere on site requires to be classified through Waste Acceptance Criteria testing prior to being moved or removed.

Yes, there is guidance these days that if some contaminants are well below a site and there is no danger to human health through pathways such as water courses etc, then the site can be capped with inert soils, and kept under roads and hard landscaping etc. But that is dependant on what the contamination is, and where its located.

Thorough testing of soils, capping layers and anti dig membranes and demonstration of same to Building Control through evidence submissions and site visits is the norm these days.
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby Gerry B » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 pm

I Can Remember The Field Opposite "Tully's" Now Another Italian Restaurant. Having Toxic Waste signs
"Do Not Enter Signs" And Another Just Up The Dukes Road On The Right Next To The Playpark!!
The Last Time I looked In The Mirror! I Was Still There......
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Re: Buried chemical waste hazard

Postby dazza » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:19 pm

How about some buried radium? In 1938 the Western Infirmary Radiotherapy Dept. acquired a radium beam unit which carried three grammes of radium. However, with the fear of air strikes during WWII, a 50ft deep steel-lined concrete shaft was constructed near Dumbarton Road to store the radium for the duration of the war. It would be lowered into the shaft in the afternoon and retrieved again the next morning. I'm guessing this "superstructure" is still there.
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