The cost of removing hazardous waste from the Olympic site in the East End site could be as much as £80m.
The London Development Agency, which is responsible for the clear-up, has warned that up to 4,000 tons of contaminated waste might have to be disposed of in landfill sites. According to Construction News, the LDA senior project manager for remediation, Steve Davies, told a conference: "In the worst-case scenario we are estimating 250,000 cubic metres of hazardous waste which could have to go out to landfill." Experts estimate that, with the nearest sites in Bedfordshire,this would involve 20,000 lorry journeys.
Landfill prices for hazardous waste have rocketed since a European directive on landfill came into effect in July 2005.Landfill is exempted from a Government landfill tax, to encourage brownfield site development, but remains expensive.
Because the Olympic Park is to be built on a former industrial site there is a high possibility of heavy contamination by hydrocarbons and metal pollutants.
A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said: "This is a worst-case scenario. We have factored in removal of hazardous waste costs in our overall costs for remediation. However, we intend the amounts going to landfill to be minimised as far as possible.''
The clear-up of the 500-acre site is expected to begin next month after conclusion of the public inquiry into the compulsory purchase of businesses sited there.
Construction work is due to begin in January 2008 on the aquatic centre.