23 January 2013

Chris studied Ecology in 2005 and an MSc in Ecology & Environment in 2006. He was a member of Cartmel College.

In 2007 I began my role as an environmental scientist with Environmental Scientifics Group (ESG) who had secured the contract to undertake much of the geotechnical, environmental and materials testing involved in the Enabling Works phase of the Olympic Park project. Back then, the 2.5sq km of land due to be transformed still contained many of businesses that would be relocated. The buildings were demolished and it was evident that the site was heavily contaminated. When these industries were initially set up, the dumping of materials was very much unregulated and all sorts of substances and by-products were uncovered. With the use of our onsite laboratory and in situ monitoring equipment, we carried out a vast amount of testing on the contaminated soil and then cleaned at the treatment plants on the Olympic Park. In addition, we had a large groundwater monitoring programme that covered hundreds of boreholes across the site and air was also monitored.

The Olympic Park territory changed drastically in the four years I was there and the land was used as a Victorian landfill site, so all sorts of paraphernalia from a bygone time could be seen during most digs. Personally, one of the most exciting times was working alongside the archaeologists to whom we provided a range of occupational hygiene monitoring. I was there when an Iron Age settlement was uncovered in the area where the distinctive Aquatics Centre now sits. Four skeletons, each around 3000 years old were discovered in what is thought to be the most significant find on the park.

As the Enabling Works contract came to a close, ESG secured more work throughout the construction and landscaping of the site. It was certainly not one of the most glamorous jobs associated with London 2012, but I'm proud to have been there from the start during the demolition and then witness the emergence of the new structures that shot up very rapidly (late delivery was not an option!).  Along the way we received inspirational speeches from Lord Coe, but unfortunately, despite all the work I put in on the site I didn't get a single ticket for the events I applied for!