North London recycling specialist Keanes Environmental has been declared a “Green Hero” in recognition of its significant environmental contribution to a major Thames Water mains replacement project.

The company, whose Trenchmod soil recycling system is used to convert excavated clay soil into a reusable granular fill material, was presented with the Green Organisation’s “Green Heroes” award by top botanist and TV personality Professor David Bellamy OBE at a special ceremony aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh’s Leith Docks.

The Thames Water District Main Replacement scheme involves the replacement of miles of water mains in the London area and involves the excavation of an estimated 60,000 tonnes of clay soil. This does not compact adequately and under normal circumstances would be dumped in landfill and the trenches back-filled with expensive quarried stone brought to site.

By using Keanes Environmental’s Trenchmod system, Thames Water has dispensed with the need to ‘dig-and-dump’ by processing the excavated soil into a granular material for re-use within the original excavation. As well as avoiding environmentally damaging landfill and quarrying operations, this solution also reduces carbon emissions and traffic congestion by eliminating the need for hundreds of lorry movements.

Keanes’ nomination as a Green Hero follows its success in winning an Award for Environmental Best Practice at the 2008 Green Apple Awards, held in November at the House of Commons. The Thames Water project will also be featured in the next Green Book, the world’s only work of reference on environmental best practice.

The Green Apple Awards campaign is run by the Green Organisation, an independent non-political, non-profit organisation which recognises, rewards and promotes environmental best practice around the world.

The Awards are supported by the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institution of Waste Management, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and various other professional bodies.


  • The Highways Authority and Utilities Committee (HAUC) specification for trench reinstatement requires the use of stable granular material which performs according to set technical criteria. Untreated waste soil from the excavation cannot be used and is usually disposed of in landfill sites
  • Trenchmod is produced by the Keanes Mixer, a mobile computer-controlled machine which blends small quantities of specially formulated additives with the excavated soils to produce a granular product which can be re-used to back-fill the excavation
  • Trenchmod remains a granular material until it is placed in the ground and compacted. The action of compaction triggers a slow cementing process in the material which increases its strength even further
  • Use of Trenchmod reduces the total amount of material sent to landfill and reduces the consumption of quarried stone. It also reduces the number of lorry movements, reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

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