Giving an industrial site a new lease of life

The Hénâ waste tip project is an ambitious mission that demonstrates ENGIE Electrabel’s desire to epitomise industrial responsibility. The site is home to 1.7 million m3 of ash that has covered two valleys in the Flémalle area since 1952. However, a new green space conducive to the development of biodiversity will soon be created at this former ash deposit.

 A new green space conducive to the development of biodiversity
A new green space conducive to the development of biodiversity

Short history of the waste tip

The Hénâ waste tip is located in Awirs in the municipality of Flémalle. The site originally consisted of two valleys which were mainly taken up by the Hénâ and Fagnes streams.

The waste tip comprises 1.7 million m³ of fly ash produced by the combustion of coal at the Awirs power plant. Ash was deposited there from 1952 until 1972, when stability issues resulted in the closure of the site.

Over the years, all necessary measures have been taken to guarantee the stability of the waste tip and a continuous monitoring by academics, secured the safety of the site.

In 2002, ENGIE Electrabel began developing a project aiming to completely remove the waste tip. An independent external study showed that this was the only permanent solution for the longer term.

Recent news


Today, 48,000 tons of ashes have been evacuated.

In April 2017,  the construction of the installations and the test phase took an end. The evacuation of the ashes will continue according to the foreseen planning.

End of April, the asbestos removal has been interrupted. This gave the opportunity to the administration to check the conformity of the activities with the actual permissions.

Specific air measurement campaigns will be organized every week. These analyzes are performed by an independent accredited laboratory. Recently 6 air samplings between the area concerned and Hénâ street have been taken. The results show no asbestos fibers in the air. Information on upcoming measurement campaigns will be available on this web page.

In May 2016, we reached a major milestone at the construction site, namely the assembly of the conveyor belt. Read the article (in French).

In May 2017, we sent our ninth newsletter to the residents of the Hénâ waste tip. You can read all newsletters hereunder (in French).

May 2017December 2016November 2016September 2016July 2016June 2016May 2016April 2016March 2016

Information for local residents

We strive to provide residents with information in a transparent and proactive manner throughout the project. A dedicated team is standby to listen to them and to provide information.


Freephone: +32 (0)800 20210

Learn all about the project from multiple sources of information

An ambitious and responsible project

Key figures of the project

15 - The project should last 15 years

30 - In addition to Electrabel employees, 30 other employees will work on the site while equipment is being assembled

60 - The number of recommendations implemented, in addition to those strict measures initially proposed to mitigate the impacts on residents

€50 million investment

1.7 million m³ of fly ash
An ambitious project comprising 3 phases

An ambitious project comprising 3 phases

The aim is clear: gradually restore the site to its original state by developing a new, pleasant green space while guaranteeing complete safety in the long term. ENGIE Electrabel is wholly responsible for the project, which should last 15 years and cost approximately €50 million. Work began in May 2015 and will comprise 3 phases:

  1. Preparatory phase to assemble the equipment needed to remove the waste tip
  2. Removal of the ash to the Awirs site using a covered conveyor belt and transportation via boat to the Belgian cement manufacturing sector
  3. Gradual restoration of the site and dismantling of equipment
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Prioritising safety

Prioritising safety

Extensive modelling of the project phases has been carried out together with multiple design consultancies to guarantee the stability of the site.

The fly ash will be removed starting with the edges upstream of the waste tip before moving downstream. The removal will adhere to a strict schedule validated by several independent university professors with a view to guaranteeing that the work is safe at all times, especially when reducing the slopes on site.

Internal and external checks of the site’s stability will be tightened up as the work progresses (in cooperation with UCL, ULg and ULB).

Lastly, a specific emergency plan within ENGIE Electrabel and a shared general emergency plan have been introduced.

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Local living conditions

Local living conditions

From the moment we began organising this project, we have taken as many steps as possible to mitigate any disruption.

As such, the least disruptive solution was picked over the other, less optimal solutions (e.g. transport via lorry, different route).

The 60 recommendations listed in the environmental impact study or requested by local authorities will be applied with a view to limiting the impact of the project. In particular, we are taking  measures to reduce the noise generated and to ensure that there is no dust found outside the site.

Press file

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