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What are the Stages of a Contaminated Land Risk Assessment?

Contaminated land risk assessment generally follows a phased approach. The investigation and remediation process is usually split into four separate phases or stages:

Phase 1 – Desk Study and Site Survey

A preliminary risk assessment is required to obtain a good understanding of the site’s history, setting and potential to be affected by contamination. Environmental risk assessment reports can include desk study research, consultation with the Local Authority and a field reconnaissance survey.

Our desk study survey work in Surrey shows how a site survey revealed evidence of past contaminative activity on a proposed agricultural development. This could have created significant business impacts for the client, meaning that more intrusive work was required.

Phase 2 – Intrusive Investigation

If the desk study indicates potential for contamination, an intrusive site investigation and refined risk assessment will be required. This will determine whether there are any unacceptable risks to people, property or the environment.

The type of work required depends on the information provided by the Phase 1 Desk Report. This can range from a simple soil sampling exercise using hand dug pits to borehole drilling, soil testing and groundwater and gas monitoring.

Phase 3 – Remediation

If the intrusive investigation identifies any unacceptable risks, then remediation or mitigation measures may be required to enable a development project to proceed. Remediation involves the clean-up of a site to ensure that it is safe and suitable for use.

Both involve the breaking of the ‘pollutant linkage’ so that the pollutant cannot cause harm and the site can be considered as ‘suitable for use’.  There are many ways to do this from the traditional removal of contamination, to on-site treatment, or the use of barrier membranes or capping.

Phase 4 – Verification

Verification (or validation) works are undertaken following remediation to demonstrate the success of the remediation works in breaking the pollution linkage and making the site fit for purpose.

Our Environmental risk assessment reports provide a range of options to obtain a good understanding of the site’s history, setting and potential to be affected by contamination. The Phase 1 Desk Report can be enhanced with a site visit and a detailed review of the planning history.

Based on these findings, no further work may be necessary. Where pollutant linkages are identified, we can sometimes recommend remediation or mitigation techniques to be employed as part of the development.

Where necessary, we can then provide the follow on services required to discharge a planning condition through our associated consultants.

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For more information, call us on 01743 581 415, or email info@geosmartinfo.co.uk