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$36 Billion World Site Remediation Market in 2012

The market for products and services to remediate groundwater and soils will exceed $36 billion this year. The U.S. will remain the leading purchaser, but the growth will come from Asia and elsewhere. This is the conclusion reached by the McIlvaine Company in its latest remediation forecasts.


China is the fastest growing remediation market. One project in Beijing last year received over $100 million in funding. Much of the investment is still in excavation and removal of soil. However, the five year plan 2011-2015 is supporting a range of remediation activities.

Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified more than 2,000 contaminated sites nationwide to date. More sites continue to be flagged. Japan has a large established market. Most of the developing Asian countries have large potential.

Eastern Europe is a promising market.  It is, however, lagging behind Western Europe in its cleanup efforts. Over the last eight years, Denmark and the Netherlands have spent billions of euros on remediation and have the highest ratio of remediation expenditures per euro of GDP. Germany has been the leading country in terms of gross expenditures, but lags behind the leaders in terms of percentage of GDP spent for remediation. The Eastern European countries have spent lower percentages of GDP on remediation but have the most severe problems.

The market for chemicals and microbial cultures includes applications in pump and treat where activated carbon and other products are used to purify recirculating water. Chemicals which release oxygen and microbial consortia which foster in situ bioremediation have become increasingly popular. The recent acquisition of Adventus assets by FMC is an indication of the increasing presence of large companies in the industry. BCEG Environmental Remediation Company Ltd. (BCEER) is the exclusive Adventus representative in the People’s Republic of China. Honeywell UOP has been a successful vendor of chemicals to clean up the radiation leakage at the Fukushima plant.

The market for continuous analyzers to measure contaminants in ground and surface water is growing at double-digit rates. One reason is the new reliance on monitoring and natural attenuation as a remediation solution. Another is the desire by would be polluters to establish baselines prior to the conduct of operations which are potentially harmful. The contamination of some water supplies in Pennsylvania could be natural and not a result of shale gas extraction. So shale gas operators are investing in baseline monitoring systems to protect themselves from future liabilities.

The participants in the market are increasingly international in their scope of operations. ThermoFisher is expanding both in terms of geographic reach and products to serve the remediation market. In selected Asian countries, it is marketing the remediation products of Regenesis. It plans to make China its second largest market after the U.S.

Large U.S. based consulting companies such as URS, Black & Veatch, AECOM and others are expanding their remediation activities internationally. To extend its sustainable remediation technical expertise and best practices across AECOM, more than 70 environmental practitioners have been trained on AECOM’s new process for rapidly screening best management practices to improve remediation portfolio performance.

A new trend is for international remediation firms to acquire U.S. companies. Cardno Limited of Brisbane, Australia has acquired two U.S. environmental engineering firms: Environmental Resolutions, Inc. (ERI) of Irvine, CA and ENTRIX of Houston, TX. Cardno is a large professional services firm founded in Brisbane in 1945. ERI, an environment and site remediation consulting firm with six offices in the U.S., has a staff of 155.  ENTRIX, an environmental and natural resource management consulting firm, employs 615 people. 

Xylem is positioning itself to be a leader in remediation. It has acquired several companies with monitoring and instrumentation products. One is YSI which supplies monitors for measuring water quality in aquifers and surface water. Another is WTW which has complete test kits for remediation consulting and testing companies. Xylem Godwin Pump Group specializes in pumps for groundwater and sediment. Xylem Wedeco makes ozone generators which are used in the ozone sparging process. Xylem Sanitaire makes biological remediation equipment to separate toxic metals.

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