Top Questions About Contaminated Ground Removal Services
By Jennifer Holmes

Top Questions About Contaminated Ground Removal Services

Contaminated ground removal services are essential to many industries, whether it’s construction, real estate, or environmental. People often have questions about the different types of contamination and the best way to handle them. So, let’s dive into the top questions about contaminated ground types like hydrocarbon, oil, plants, and heavy metals, and see how these issues can be resolved.

1. What Is Contaminated Ground?

Ground contamination occurs when harmful substances are either directly or indirectly introduced into the soil. These are substances that have found their way into the ground through industry, environment or anthropogenic (changes in nature made by people) routes and could pose a risk to human health and can also harm the environment. Either way, if the ground is planned for development, it needs to be cleansed of all contaminates before works can begin.

2. What Are The Types of Contaminated Ground?

Ground can become contaminated in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Asbestos: This is usually as a result of Asbestos materials either leaching into the ground from disused buildings, or underground infrastructure such as piping disintegrating. Caught early Asbestos can be manually picked out and disposed of in bags to a licensed landfill, thus reducing the amount of contaminated soils to be removed.
  • Hydrocarbon Contamination: Hydrocarbons, primarily found in fuels, can contaminate ground soil through spills or leaks from storage tanks. This contamination type can harm soil quality and make it unfit for planting or construction.
  • Oil Contamination: Oil contamination can result from oil spills or leaks, often due to broken machinery or the improper storage of oil. This type of contamination can make the soil hazardous for use and negatively impact local ecosystems.
  • Plant Contamination: Certain types of plants, particularly invasive species, can contaminate the ground. These plants tend to inhibit the growth of other plants, and are required to be treated or eradicated to leave the site clear of future infestation.
  • Heavy Metal Contamination: Heavy metals, like lead or mercury, can contaminate the soil through industrial processes, mining, or the improper disposal of waste. These substances can pose serious health risks to humans and wildlife.

3. What Are The Most Common Heavy Metals Found In Contaminated Soil?

Heavy metals in soils primarily come from anthropogenic activities, such as industrial processes, mining, and the use of certain fertilisers and pesticides used in farming. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Lead (Pb): Lead contamination is common in urban environments due to the historical use of lead-based paint and leaded gasoline that was used to fuel boilers. Older homes, in particular, can have high levels of lead in the surrounding soil.
  • Mercury (Hg): Mercury is often found in soils near mining operations or where mercury-containing equipment has been discarded. It can also come from the atmospheric deposition of mercury released by coal-burning power plants.
  • Cadmium (Cd): Cadmium is often associated with zinc production and the manufacturing of batteries. It’s also commonly found in phosphate fertilisers, and thus can be present in agricultural soils.
  • Arsenic (As): Arsenic contamination can be natural (from certain types of bedrock) or anthropogenic, often resulting from the use of arsenic-based pesticides and the smelting of certain ores.
  • Chromium (Cr): Chromium is often found in soils near sites of industrial processes like leather tanning, metal plating, and wood preservation. Chromium-6 in particular is highly toxic and can leach into groundwater.
  • Nickel (Ni): Nickel can come from a variety of sources, including atmospheric deposition from combustion processes and wastewater discharge from nickel plating industries.
  • Zinc (Zn): Zinc contamination often comes from mining, smelting, and the production of batteries and galvanized metal.

All these heavy metals can have harmful effects on human and ecosystem health. Their absorption rate and toxicity can vary greatly depending on the specific metal and its form, as well as the characteristics of the soil it’s found in. That’s why it’s important to test soils for heavy metal contamination and to use professional remediation services if high levels are found.

3. How Is Contaminated Ground Detected?

Contaminated ground is usually detected through qualitative and quantitative soil testing. Professional environmental services will collect soil samples from various parts of a site and test them for contaminants. They’ll then provide a detailed report outlining the types and levels of contamination found, and if applicable whether it is licensable or non-licensable.

4. How Can Contaminated Ground Be Removed?

Removing contaminated ground is a job for licensed professionals, as it’s classified as hazardous waste. Often it is removed and disposed of using combination of techniques, depending on the type and extent of the contamination. The most common and effective method is Excavation. This involves mechanically removing the contaminated soil and disposing of it in a compliant manner. It’s often used for large-scale contamination, and is our method of choice at Environment Controls for complete eradication and disposal of any contaminated ground. Other methods include:

  • Bioremediation: This process uses microorganisms or plants to break down contaminants naturally. It’s often used for hydrocarbon or oil contamination.
  • Soil Washing: This technique involves washing the soil to remove contaminants. It’s frequently used to treat heavy metal contamination.

5. Is The Process Safe?

Yes, when performed by professionals holding a Waste Carrier’s license, contaminated ground removal is safe. We adhere to strict safety standards and regulations to ensure that the process doesn’t harm people or the environment. We also take care to dispose of the contaminated ground in accordance with local regulations since it’s classified as hazardous waste.

Contaminated ground removal services are crucial in keeping our environments safe and usable. If you suspect you may have contaminated ground, speak to us. We can conduct a thorough site assessment and advise on the best course of action. Your commitment to dealing with this issue can safeguard the health of your community and the preservation of the environment, and more importantly get stalled projects back on track.

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