As in the case of any major spill, the storage, transport and disposal of waste (oiled seaweed, sand, pebbles, debris) quickly became a serious issue.
Many storage areas were set up at the top of the beach as soon as operations began. Twenty or so intermediate storage sites were then created to pool the waste from a given area.
TotalFina quickly announced that they would take charge of this aspect of the response. The 1,200 tonnes of emulsified oil recovered at sea were taken to the Elf refinery in Donges for processing. This refinery then became the first final storage site for the collected waste. A 55,000-tonne capacity was created.
For the South Loire, an 18,000-tonne storage site was set up in Frossay. Thereafter, two additional final storage facilities were created outside Donges refinery: Arceau 1, with a total capacity of 70,000 tonnes then Arceau 2, with a capacity of 57,000 tonnes.
In January, more than 100 truck rotations per day transferred waste between temporary storage sites and final storage facilities. In February/March, around 50 truck rotations took place each day. By the end of July 2000, the intermediate storage sites were all empty and more than 50,000 tonnes of waste were sent to Arceau 2.
In total, around 200,000 tonnes of waste were collected.
Specifications for the processing of this waste were drawn up by TotalFina with help from a committee of experts. The firm Brézillon, selected from among 11 candidates, was allocated 2 years to process all the waste.