Together towards a more sustainable Huelva

Environmental restoration project of the Huelva phosphogypsum stacks

hectares of phosphogypsum
More than
million euros
direct and indirect jobs

What is the Restore 20/30 project?

The Restore 20/30 Project consists essentially of the environmental restoration of the 720 hectares of phosphogypsum stacks. The project considers the total encapsulation of the same, in order to avoid any contact with the outside, and the restoration and revegetation of the land to integrate it into the Huelva Marsh, once the internal water and rainwater have been drained, which will turn this place into one of the lungs of Huelva.

The Restore 20/30 Project has been developed by the American company Ardaman & Associates, a world leader in engineering services with the greatest experience in this type of closures – having already carried out more than 60 successful projects – as well as by the Spanish firms Eptisa and Inerco.

The project, which is internationally emblematic, has been deeply improved and perfected in recent years due to the fact that, during the validation phase, the contributions of the technicians of the different administrations and competent bodies have been collected and, during the public exposure phase, more than 21 government institutions have been consulted and more than 1,300 allegations have been answered.

About Ardaman & Associates, inc.

Ardaman provides geotechnical and environmental engineering services to clients involved with development and infrastructure.

The engineers and scientists at Ardaman have provided services on tens of thousands of projects ranging from single-family residences to billion-dollar industrial complexes.

Ardaman’s experience list includes more than 60 phosphogypsum stack closure projects, many of them with hundreds of hectares. So, the company specializes in the geotechnical, civil and environmental engineering aspects of siting, design, construction monitoring, management and closure of industrial solid waste disposal facilities in general and phosphogypsum stacks and coal combustion residual landfills in particular.

Restore 20/30 in figures

  • The action in Huelva will result in the regeneration of the 720 hectares where the phosphogypsum stacks are located.
  • The project will carry out the regeneration of the land in two phases

    Execution: An estimated period of ten years during which it will be carried out:

    1. Drainage of the internal water of the gypsum. Through several perimeter rings of collection to improve, even more, the stability of the stacking.
    2. Upper sealing. Through a system that ensures total watertightness by installing two layers: a first geomembrane barrier complemented by a second layer of compacted clay.
    3. Perimeter sealing of the entire assembly. A waterproof perimeter barrier will be installed to ensure that water does not come into contact with the sealed area. In the tidal channels this barrier will be double. In addition, a breakwater protection will be installed to prevent any impact in case of flooding, unusual tides or even the most unfavorable tsunami in the area.
    4. Landscape recovery of the site. An additional layer of topsoil will be installed and replanted with native plants to reintegrate the areas into the Odiel Marsh environment. The area will have a rainwater run-off system. Thanks to this, possible erosion of the vegetation cover will be avoided.

    After closure: A 30-year monitoring and control plan

      1. During the execution of the project and the post-closure an exhaustive monitoring will be carried out to prevent any environmental impact, counting for this with the most advanced instrumentation and an intense plan of analysis of surface water, subway water, radiological situation, atmospheric emissions, meteorological data, etc., in order to guarantee the safety and durability of the project.

  • The estimated expenditure required to implement the project is more than 65 million euros.

  • It is estimated that Restore 20/30 will create more than 100 direct and indirect jobs, primarily over the next 10 years of the active remediation phase of the project.

Monitoring and controlClosing (10 years)Post close (30 years)
Surface Water AnalysisMonthlyQuarterly
Groundwater AnalysisQuarterly and semiannuallySemiannual and annual
Radiological analysisQuarterly and annualQuarterly and annual
Atomic emissions and weather dataWeekly and monthly

Why Restore 20/30 is the best enviromental solution?

The project guarantees the encapsulation and the landscape reintegration of the land, ensuring maximum security to the city of Huelva and its surroundings.

The Restore 20/30 Project has received a favorable Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. An extensive scientific research recognizes it as the best environmental option, for which Restore 20/30 has contributed studies and reports to the 1,345 allegations presented about the project to the Ministry for Ecological Transition.

Through the achievement of Restore 20/30, the areas currently occupied by the phosphogypsum stacks will be integrated into the environment of the Huelva marshes, becoming a Site of Special Scientific Interest through the revegetation and reintroduction of local plants and animal species

The company responsible for designing the project, Ardaman & Associates, is a leading company in engineering services aimed at the management of solid industrial waste disposal and the protection of natural resources. Ardaman & Associates has successfully completed more than 60 closure projects of phosphogypsum stacks around the world and, among other countries, in France, Germany, United States, Canada and Australia.

The execution project has been carried out by EPTISA, a Spanish company of international level with a lot of experience in this type of closings.

The Environmental Impact Study has been carried out by INERCO, which has also designed the environmental monitoring plan taking into account any possible impact on the environment and the population.

The project has been, is and will be supervised by all the relevant administrations and their collaborating companies such as IGME, EMGRISA, among others.

Restore 20/30 Project and the Sustainable Development Objectives

Restore 20/30 is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations, which are part of the 2030 Agenda.

Goal 6

Clean water and sanitation

  • The Restore 20/30 Project will guarantee the perfect encapsulation of the phosphogypsum stacks and its reintegration in the Huelva Marshes.
  • The project design includes a drainage and evaporation system of the internal waters, guaranteeing no contact with the environment.

Goal 12

Responsible consumption and production

  • The Restore 20/30 Project provides for the creation of approximately one hundred direct and indirect jobs, which will result in a very positive social and economic impact in Huelva. Thus, the benefit of Restore 20/30 will not only be environmental, but also in terms of employment and wealth.

Goal 15

Life on land

  • The Restore 20/30 Project will revegetate the 720 hectares currently occupied by the phosphogypsum stacks. This afforestation will be carried out with autochthonous plants (pines, lentiscus, etc.), which will vary according to the different areas.
  • In this way, Restore 20/30 will contribute to the conservation of local species typical of the marshland landscape, Following the safe completion of this project, the areas currently occupied by the phosphogypsum stacks will be reintroduced into the environment of the Odiel Marshes. This will add to the area that has been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • Restore 20/30 is a necessary environmental project designed to transform the area currently occupied by the phosphogypsum stacks into one of the “lungs of Huelva”, in 2030.