The Big Clean Up
The ground levels on St. Mary's Island were originally made up from waste materials used at the brickworks and dockyard.
English Partnerships, who were initially responsible to the Secretary of State for the Environment, set about determining the nature and level of such wastes as an absolute priority. A detailed research plan to test the ground across the whole of the Island was therefore put into effect, extensively testing and retesting soil and water samples.
Once the testing process was completed, a programme of work was begun to bring the Island up to the most stringent levels recommended by government safety guidelines. A redundant pump house was excluded from the regeneration programme only to be demolished at a later date.
Over a three year period 1.2 million cubic metres of soil was taken away from the site and replaced. The extent of the clean-up operation and the attention to detail with which it was carried out can best be illustrated by the fact that for virtually three years, every four hours, twenty-four hours a day, a train left the site carrying away soil and unwanted deposits in covered containers.
Radiological testing was carried out by the Ministry of Defence and English Partnerships and checked annually by an independent assessor.
The NRPB (National Radiological Protection Board) have shown that the Island is, in fact, below normal background radiation levels in Kent.