The basics associated with the remediation process and the benefits of an early contractor engagement
Site remediation is the process of removing polluted or contaminated soil, sediment, surface water, or groundwater, to reduce the impact on people or the environment. A polluted site can have a serious impact on human health, water supplies, eco-systems and even on building structures, which is why there are various safeguards now in place to deal with contamination issues.
There are a range of regulatory systems in place that require remedial action to be undertaken should there be pollution due to an environmental incident or past historical industrial activity. These regulatory requirements are usually based on the principle of the ‘polluter pays,’ but the level of remediation is generally based on the risk to human health, Controlled Waters and/or ecological habitats posed by the pollutants escaped.
Remediation is a fundamental consideration with the redevelopment of derelict brownfield sites where, under the Planning regime, the change of land use from industrial to residential will require assessment of contamination and validated site clean up.
At Ecologia, we are proud to offer a professional site remediation service combining:
- Consultancy services such as initial site investigation, appraisal of previous site reports, developing site Remediation Strategy and Materials Management Plans, with
- Contracting services ranging from excavation/screening/ re-use or off site disposal of contaminated material to more bespoke in-situ remediation processes.
These services are designed to help mitigate environmental liabilities in a realistic, cost effective and sustainable manner.
How does the process work?
The first step in assessing whether there is potential for significant contamination at a site is a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment. An assessment of the current site is undertaken along with a review of its previous history and neighbouring areas with potential contaminative activities. This provides the basis for a initial Conceptual Site Model, which will determine the extent of intrusive investigation required and the range of contaminants that we will test for. The intrusive investigation may involve the collection of soil and groundwater samples as well as soil gas measurements. Generally, groundwater and gas testing is carried out via monitoring wells installed during the site investigation works. This process is often perceived to be costly; certainly the discovery of unwanted or unexpected contamination is a controversial issue during a property transaction or site redevelopment. However, a greater understanding of the contamination at a site in the early stages of development can result in significant reduction of the overall remediation cost and timescale. Good survey data helps in developing a suitable strategy, often using software based risk assessment tools to identify the level of risk to a specific receptor from types and concentrations of contaminants measured on site. Combining these risk assessment tools with on-site remediation processes and good materials management, can achieve significant cost savings. For instance if the development strategy places less sensitive receptors (i.e. a car park instead of a nursey school) on the most contaminated part of the site the remediation costs will be less onerous. Other examples may be the introduction of a capping layer to break a contamination pathway and remove the need for materials to be disposed off site at a great additional cost. Early contractor engagement is generally beneficial in provide these kinds of sustainable solutions and keeping cost to a minimum.
What can we do?
At Ecologia, we understand that finding out your site may be contaminated can be distressing, costly and inconvenient, which is why we try to work as quickly as possible to ascertain what the actual situation is. If we do determine that your site is contaminated, we are able to offer you a range of options for dealing with the issue, liaising with the Regulators, and managing the situation quickly and effectively.