Contaminated land Consultants are a branch of environmental consultants that manage compliance and audit issues where audits are called for if a property is being rezoned to a more “sensitive” land usage, for instance, from industrial to housing, or if an application has been made to remove land from the Contaminated Sites Register and their services are quite often used by real estate developers when purchasing (or selling) land appropriate for business or residential development.
The first service a contaminated land consultancy will give is to identify the risk of site contamination which is referred to as a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI), or a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment report. The PSI needs to be sufficient to identify possible types/sources of contamination, areas of possible contamination, human and environmental receptors and possibly contaminated media (soil, groundwater, etc).
A complete Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) will certainly involve the following:
identification and description of the site, the site past (zoning, occupants, historic usages, aerial images, ownership, activities, consultations, etc); the environmental setting (geology, hydrogeology, topography, etc); a site reconnaissance visit to visually inspect the site (and surroundings) for contamination; a preliminary theoretical site model; and
(optionally) restricted contaminant sample and evaluation at areas of potential environmental concern.
A PSI might conclude that there is a considerable risk for contamination (in which case further studies ought to be conducted). On the other hand, if a comprehensive preliminary examination shows a past history of non-contaminating activities and there is no other evidence or suspicion of contamination, additional investigation is not called for.
However, if a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) recognizes a risk of contamination and the available info is insufficient to make it possible for site management strategies to be designed, a Detailed Site Investigation, or DSI, may have to be conducted.
The DSI is the site sampling, or Phase 2 investigation stage. It undertakes to mark the vertical and lateral extent of site contamination – generally with the site’s proposed land usage in mind; or to advise after proper site remediation or management methods.
Soil is always examined and groundwater and/or surface water is tested where the past use of the site indicates there is a possibility of contamination; the soil is contaminated with materials that can contaminate groundwater; or, if a surrounding site is recognized to be, or is potentially contaminated, and there is a risk of the contamination moving to your site. Where a correctly planned and executed DSI demonstrates that the site is not contaminated, then no additional works are called for. If it demonstrates that the site is contaminated, even more examination to inform decontamination requirements or to make clear potential human health risks might be required.
Environmental auditing of a site can be a drawn-out exercise incorporating soil and groundwater analysis, human health risk assessment, determination of “clean up to the extent feasible” of contaminated groundwater, and off-site screening.
A contaminated land audit could identify environmental contamination factors that need correction or management.
As noted, full and total clean up of contaminated land is not always called for. A contaminated land audit might be finished on a site that contains some ‘residual contamination’, and the auditor has provided a ‘Statement of Environmental Audit’.
Development on this land can then continue, as long as the contamination is in keeping with appropriate land use.
The Statement of Environmental Audit may have certain requirements, particularly if the site has been found to be a source site of contamination. Sites having a finalized Statement of Environmental Audit may require:.
Ongoing Groundwater Quality Management Plan;.
Soil Contamination Management Strategy; or.
Even more soil/health-risk assessment requirements if disturbed.
If you are a property owner or land developer, one of the most essential thing to comprehend about contaminated land is that land owners can be held responsible for the remediation of contamination on their land.
Because of this, it’s necessary to explore a property’s contamination status prior to investing, to avoid acquiring expensive environmental responsibilities together with the land.