04:43AM, Thursday 08 December 2011
The clean-up of the notorious former Badnells Pit site in Maidenhead is finally complete.
McArdle workers left the site on Friday, almost exactly a year since the first lorries rolled out of the former toxic dump.
In that time contractor McArdle has removed 320,000 tonnes of contaminated soil from the Blackamoor Lane site to make it ready for a 448-home estate.
Second World War relics and 200 mannequin arms were some of the oddities uncovered during the remediation.
The infamous circus elephant, rumoured to have been buried there, never reared its head however.
What was raised was at least 190 complaints by residents, mostly about 'foul odours' and 'unbearable dust'.
Helen Hyman, who was on the monitoring group set up to keep an eye on the remediation, said she felt 'let down' by how some complaints were dealt with.
McArdle bosses say the site was the most monitored in Europe and they did their best to deal with issues.
General manager Mike Coleman said: "It was quite a challenging job and there were a lot of people to keep happy, not just residents but the fire authority and river authority."
More than 30 workers were involved in cleaning up the land ready for development by Shanly Homes.
They dug out 20 tonnes of roofing material containing asbestos, cleared 9,000m3 of knotweed and treated and disposed of 108,000m3 of contaminated water.
The pit was then filled with 288,000 tonnes of crushed concrete and clean soil piled on top.
Shanly Homes plans to start work on the estate before Christmas and finish it by next spring.
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