BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 448

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 448

IELTS Academic Reading Test
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 448

Worms put new life into derelict site

Poisoned soil at an old steelworks is being cleansed by thousands of worms, writes Mimi Chakraborty. 

Thousands of deep-burrowing earthworms are to help turn the long-derelict site of a steelworks into Woodland and a renewable energy park. 

As part of a pioneering low-cost plan to reclaim the site of the former Hallside steelworks at Cambuslang near Glasgow, worms are being used to accelerate the process of soil regeneration and to transform the land, over time, into an attractive and financially productive site.

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Hallside’s closure in 1979 put an end to more than 100 years of steel production. The surrounding land had become heavily compacted and was too contaminated with heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium and lead to support any kind of brick and mortar development.

The site’s 30 hectares were left abandoned until 1990, when a rescuer plan put together by local landscaping and earthmoving company, HL Banks, and the regional developer, Scottish Greenbelt, was approved by local authorities.

Now the site has been covered by a two-metre layer of partially treated sewage material which has been mixed with colliery waste. This will be converted into usable soil by about 20,000 Lubricus terrestrial (garden lobworms) and Aporrectodea long (black-headed worms) that have been let loose on the site.

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The specially raised hermaphrodites, which are self-impregnating, will spend the next five to ten years chewing their way through the topping layer to create a soil structure able to sustain long-term plant growth. Without them, the process could take up to 60 years. Researchers at Bell College of Technology in nearby Hamilton examined the use of earthworms in land regarding, and found that even in the hostile mixture of coal-tip waste and partially treated sewage, earthworms were able to speed up the process of soil recomposition.

They selected different varieties of deeper-burrowing earthworm species, whose bulk feeding and casting actions, as well as their ability to improve the mineral content of soil would increase the rate of reformulation much faster than the natural processes.

Sean Ince, of Bell’s department of biology, says ‘The idea is that earthworms will contribute in cumulative way to further soil binding, and that they will aerate and add nitrogen to the soilcovering the Hallside site.’ 

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At the same time, Scottish Greenbelt has begun planting the area with 250,000 trees – including willow and alder – specially selected for their ability to grow on degraded land. 

These will have the dual function of extracting contaminants from the soil through their root systems, and being harvested for word burning or chipboard manufacture. 

By using the cash raised from wood harvesting, David Craven, director of Scottish Greenbelt, says he expects Hallside to be self-financing. 

‘The first tranche of trees was planted in April and they are now over six feet tall, despite dry weather through the summer,’ he says. ‘The fields are being planted on a four-year rotation basis and will be used to help us meet our costs.’

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Craven says the cost of land bioremediation – the labour-intensive process of removing soil for chemical and bacterial cleansing – could have been more than £30m.

At Bell College, lnce says: ‘There’s a whole legacy of toxic soil contamination going back many years. There is physical degradation of the soil as well as contamination from metals, including lead, chromium and arsenic.’

Sampling of the soil at regular intervals over the next few years will give an indication of the level of contaminants. Within less than 20 years the land could be re-integrated into the community.

Hopes of a successful outcome at Hallside have paved the way for similar regeneration plans for the nearby Gartcosh steelworks and at Glengarnock in Ayrshire.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in your answer sheet. 

14. The Hallside site has been

A. turned into a steelworks from a woodland and an energy park

B. in use as an energy park.

C. disused for a long period of time.

D. disused for a short period of time.

15. After more than one hundred years of steel production at Hallside,

A. the land could not be used for anything.

B. it was impossible to get the land to build on.

C. the land could then be built on.

D. the land could be used for any purpose.

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16. The plan to reclaim Hallside was proposed by

A. Scottish Greenbelt and the regional developer.

B. local authorities.

C. a local landscaping company and HL Banks.

D. Scottish Greenbelt and HL Banks.

17. In the conversation of the soil at the Hallside site, 

A. two types of worms are being used.

B. three types of worms are being used.

C. many types of worms are being used.

D. thousands of different types of worms are being used.

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18. The soil regeneration at the Hallside site will take

A. 60 years

B. between 5 and 10 years.

C. up to 60 years. 

D. less than five years.

Choose ONE OR TWO WORDS  from reading passage for each answer. 

19. In research at Bell College, worms were used that quickened ___________.

20. The Bell researchers chose worms that would convert contaminated soil more rapidly than the ____________.

21. The soil at Hallside will be enriched by adding air and ____________.

22. Contaminants will be removed from the soil by _____________.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose ONE phrase from the list of phrases A-H below to complete each of the following sentences. 

Write your answers in your answer sheet. 

23.  The Hallside site is expected to

24. Bio-remediation at Hallside could

25. Within 20 years, the land at Hallside could

26. Similar regeneration plans may

A. still be contaminated.

B. be in use again by the community.

C. work better elsewhere.

D. take place at other steelworks.

E. have cost millions of pounds.

F. have been labour intensive.

G. pay for itself.

H. cost more than bio-remediation.

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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 448

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14. C 

15. B

16. C

17. A

18. C





23. G

24. H

25. B

26. D

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