MOPS technology for cleaning up contaminated sand at Groyne 42

Fortum Recycling&Waste is implementing a full-scale test of a plant intended to use for cleaning the heavily contaminated Groyne 42 in Denmark.

Multi-purpose On-site Phase Separator

Project: GROYNE 42

The yet unsolved problem
Groyne 42 is a dump for poisonous sprays and other toxic waste constructed at Breakwater 42 at Harboøre Tange in Denmark facing the North Sea.

The area was used for depositing toxic waste in the years 1957 to 1962. The pollution at Groyne 42 at Harboøre Tange in Denmark has been an unsolved problem for decades with several attempts to treat the waste and protect the surrounding area.


Ground breaking MOPS technology and expected results by the end of 2019

Fortum is now ready to implement the first full-scale test of the technology that can clean up the sand of mercury and pesticides, among others. Already last autumn, MOPS  technology (Multi-purpose On-site Phase Separator) showed promising results in laboratory tests and small-scale tests. If the results of the sustainable cleaning process keep what the tests have promised so far, the flexible MOPS technology will be able to detoxify and recover valuable raw materials from soil, fly ash and waste water sludge at many places all over the world.

The pilot test of the locally situated plant will take place during the summer of 2019. Fortum expects that in October 2019 results could be seen with cleaned sand that could be recycled. In addition, there is a minor quantity of concentrated contaminated material to be removed and incinerated at Fortum’s plant in Nyborg.


“In our previous tests, we succeeded to remove the contents of pesticides completely and reduce the
mercury contents to a level where it cannot be measured. This fact confirms the potential of the
technology and strengthens our expectations to the test in full-scale”, Jens Peter Rasmussen, Business Responsible with Fortum Waste Solutions A/S 


Materials from the site to be recycled and re-used

Fortum expects that only five percent of the total quantity of sand will be sent to high temperature plant in Nyborg for final treatment. Thus, 95 percent of the sand from the groyne is so clean after the local treatment that it can be used as filling material for road construction or other construction purposes within the frames of the soil quality criteria issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in Denmark.

MOPS Technology in short

The core of the MOPS treatment is the reactor where the contaminated material is flushed by a treatment liquid, and here the problematic components are released into a liquid part. The succeeding treatment of the liquid makes the components precipitate into a sludge part that contains the problematic material, while the cleaned liquid part can be reused as process water. MOPS treatment comprises a detoxification as well as a recovery of raw materials.

Key facts

  • Groyne 42 was used as a toxic waste dump in the years 1957 to 1962
  • Fortum will implement the first full-scale test of the flexible MOPS technology that will be able to detoxify and recover valuable raw materials from soil, fly ash and waste water sludge
  • The process focuses on three different matrixes. The sand from Groyne 42 will be detoxified. Two other test scenarios concentrate on identifying the potential of the technology of concentration of metals from fly ash and on phosphorus from waste water sludge. These focus areas contain even larger perspectives as to sustainability where MOPS is able to solve immediate environmental challenges and reuse resources
  • Results from the pilot can be expected by the end of 2019