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Local News Summary of March, 10th

  • Playground was built on landfill site in Klybeck area
  • Driver flips out after being fined at customs office in Weil am Rhein/Basel 
  • Milestone reached in plans for 15-minute train service between Basel and Liestal


Playground was built on landfill site in Klybeck area

A map from the 1980s has revealed that a playground and different streets in the Klybeck area in Kleinbasel were built on a chemical landfill site. The map, produced in 1988 by former chemical company, Ciba-Geigy, shows the landfill site but it is not completely clear if it poses a danger to the dwelling area. On Monday afternoon, the sun was finally shining again after the bitter cold snap. The «dolce vita» is again spreading along the banks of the Rhine. It doesn‘t take much: just some sun, maybe a book, and a can of beer. Only a few kids are playing on the playground in front of the Ackermätteli school building in the Klybeck area. One part of the playground however is built on a chemical landfill site, according to the map. It shows that there was a 100x15 metre-area of landfill underneath Altrheinweg, just in front of the playground. The landfill contained «chemicals» consisting of «industrial slag, sludge, rubble» and «production residues». It was «fused with a gluey, black ground mass», the internal document claims. The document is known by the «doctors for environmental protection» (AefU) organisation, and has been seen by

Publish the investigations

Not much more is known about it. «We want to know how much chemical waste has been disposed there and precisely which poisons it contains – and when it will be removed. Chemical waste near a playground and underneath a street in a dwelling area is problematic. This waste should not be there», said Martin Forter, manager of AefU. It is not the only the streets under Klybeck which housed a chemical landfill site: Two further sites with «chemical sludge» of similar size lie under the tarmac at Altrheinweg near Mauerstrasse and Unterer Rheinweg just underneath the Dreirosenbrücke, according to the document. «Rainwater can seep away unhindered since trees are growing at the side of the landfill. Would this wash out the chemical waste? How does it affect the groundwater?» Mr Forter asks, demanding that if corresponding investigations have been carried out, then the Office for the Environment should publish their findings.

Chemical waste shouldn't be here

The Office for Environment and Energy (AUE) knows about the problem. On request by, head of office Matthias Nabholz said: «There are numerous boreholes for chemical sludge. From this we have a profile of the different layers from which we know on which level the chemical sludges are disposed.» When asked about how this could be assessed, whether there were investigations carried out concerning the groundwater, whether there are residues, and whether the AUE could say anything about results and investigation methods, Mr Nabholz stated that the office «would not conduct any investigations by itself». In an e-mail, he wrote: «All supervisions and investigations were conducted on behalf of the polluters themselves, the former company, Ciba-Geigy AG, and their successor companies Novartis and BASF. If you need data about the supervision of the groundwater you have to directly address Novartis or BASF.» Without their consent, the Office is not allowed to publish any data, he said. The team has also contacted BASF and Novartis to ask what kind of chemical waste was lying under the streets of Kleinbasel. The team is yet to receive a specific answer.

The Klybeck area:

Together with BASF and Novartis, Basel-Stadt plans to build a new city area in Klybeck with flats for 20,000 and workspaces for 30,000 people. However, the entire area is in need of rehabilitation since it is suspected that it is contaminated.


Driver flips out after being fined at customs office in Weil am Rhein/Basel

A driver flipped out after he was stopped at the customs office in Weil am Rhein/Basel by Swiss border guards on Thursday afternoon. The driver was fined 200 Swiss francs for not having a vignette motorway sticker, which he also had to buy 40 francs. The 68-year-old man got so angry that he attacked a German customs officer. The customs officer said the man shouted at him, threatened him, and started to attack him. The man then got back into his car and attempted to drive off despite being ordered to stay where he was. The customs officer used a pepper spray and with the help of his Swiss colleagues, they were able to arrest him. The police are now pursuing a case against the driver for personal injury, threats, and abuse.

Milestone reached in plans for 15-minute train service between Basel and Liestal

The plans for the future of the railway lines between Basel and Muttenz will be laid out for the public to see in April. This is a further important milestone in a project to put on a train service every 15 minutes between Basel and Liestal.

The project to split the Basel-Muttenz train line aims to create a bypass for the heavily used main line to Bahnhof Basel SBB. It is one of the preconditions for developing new services for passenger and cargo trains.

Starting point and benefits

The heavily used main access to Bahnhof Basel SBB has reached the limits of its capacity. The new plans to separate the passenger and cargo services are expected to bring relief to this line as well as to increase punctuality.

Main elements

The diverse projects contain five main elements. At the exit to the cargo train station, the existing two-track bridge over the river Birs will be broadened by one metre on each side to make space for a new switch. The bridge will be equipped with a two-metre high noise barrier on the southbound carriageway. The Eastern part of the St. Jakob Park platform will be raised by 7 centimetres along 30 metres to adapt to the alteration of the rails.

Schedule and financing

The project will be financed by the development scheme 2025 by the Federal Government, and is expected to cost around 300 million francs. The closest possible start of the works is the end of 2019, with the closest possible date for the inauguration at the end of 2025.