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Soil and Groundwater Remediation Tips

December 13, 2017
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Soil and Groundwater Remediation Tips

Remediation is the management of contaminated sites via various methods such as treatment, containment and removal of chemical substances or waste to prevent, minimise or mitigate potential effects to human health, property or the environment.

There are several methods and processes used in remediation. These can range from relatively straight forward earthworks and dig and dump for soil, or pump and treat for groundwater, to complex treatment processes such as in-situ or ex-situ chemical oxidation, biological treatment or thermal treatment.

Poorly managed or planned remediation may result in adverse impacts on human health, property and the environment.  So what should you consider before commencing with the remediation process?

  • Have you identified the nature and extent of contamination by undertaking a staged environmental site investigation including identifying the human health and environmental risks? Have you identified the source, pathway and receptor?
  • What is the current use and likely future use of the site?
  • What are your remediation objectives? Are they to comply with regulatory or planning requirements, or is it to develop for a more sensitive land use? Our objectives will be the core rationale to which remediation technology can be used.
  • What are the regulatory requirements in your State?
  • What are you cleaning up – soil, waste or groundwater?
  • Have you examined the situation where the contaminated soil or waste is situated and the depth to groundwater?
  • When is the right occasion to undertake the intrusive remediation works – summer, winter or anytime? This will depend on the adopted remediation technology.
  • Will the adopted remediation technology be feasible in terms of your financial, logistical and technical considerations?
  • Have you considered the potential effects of the selected remediation technology to the surrounding neighbourhoods?
  • Have you considered all the relevant permits, regulatory approvals and workplace health and safety requirements of your selected remediation technology?
  • Have you engaged a qualified remediation contractor with relevant experiences who can understand the contaminant geosciences? Do they have proven records of meeting remediation end points?
  • Will the scope of work or remediation technology recommended by the most competitive contractor meet your project objectives? In some cases, it may end up costing more, as the real problem was not appropriately costed or considered?

All of these issues can impact the way you manage your contaminated site. In some cases, intrusive groundwater can be managed accordingly through capping and/or via monitored attenuation without adverse effects to human health, property or the environment.

Careful planning can result in substantial benefits such as meeting the project objectives or remediation end points and may even potentially provide you with some financial savings.

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