Soil contamination refers to the presence of hazardous substances or pollutants in the soil that can affect the development process and pose risks to human health and the environment. Contaminants such as heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, and other industrial chemicals can leach into the soil, posing significant challenges. It can be found in historical sites, buildings where asbestos has been used, improper waste disposal, and accidental spills.
As land is developed around the country, contaminated land assessments are increasingly required as part of the consenting process. Broad and in-depth investigations are required to ensure all potential sources of contamination are identified as early as possible to reduce any accidental finds and subsequent delays during construction. This allows the remediation and management of contaminants can occur in a timely manner, without extending project timelines.
The impacts of soil contamination can be costly – environmentally, legally and financially. Contaminated soil can complicate excavation and foundation work, leading to project delays and increased costs. Moreover, the presence of hazardous substances in the soil may necessitate specialized remediation measures to ensure the safety of construction workers and the surrounding community. Environmental regulations and compliance requirements add another layer of complexity to construction projects affected by soil contamination, underscoring the need for thorough assessment and mitigation strategies.
Common causes of soil contamination
- Manufacturing of hazardous chemicals (including pesticides)
- Industrial facilities
- Timber treatment
- Sheep dipping
- Historical mining
- Power stations
- Asbestos products
Soil testing identifies the types of contaminants present, their concentration levels, and the potential health risks they pose to people and the environment.
What is the process?
Techniques such as soil sampling, laboratory analysis, and environmental monitoring for soil contamination and help developers make informed decisions about a site.
We also look at the historical use of the site for clues into the health of the soil. Find out more about a typical site investigation here.
Assessing the soil on development sites
In cases where soil remediation is necessary, construction projects may use excavation, mixing and blending, soil washing, and in-situ treatment to address contaminated soil, restoring the site so its ready for development. Working with environmental consultants, geotechnical engineers, and regulatory authorities is essential to meet the environmental regulations and industry best practices.
By understanding the impacts of soil contamination, soil testing plays a pivotal role in successful development projects to allow developers, engineers, and environmental stakeholders to make informed decisions. Before you break ground on your development project, Thomas Consultants will test your soil, potentially saving your costly mistakes down the track. Contact our team today on (09) 836 1804 or email Thomas Consultants.