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PART II A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 sets the minimum standard for contamination when land is redeveloped. As a minimum, sites must not qualify as contaminated land once they have been developed.
The utilisation of brownfield sites therefore requires environmental investigation work but as Matthew Penfold of Geotechnical and Environmental Assessment Associates (GEA) explains: “Made ground and greenfield sites can also reveal surprising levels and types of contamination. For example, site investigation can reveal problems that were not anticipated following a desktop study.
“Similarly, gas can migrate from an old landfill site and affect nearby development and if this issue is not identified at an early stage, it can result in substantial extra costs later in the project.”
Site investigation is a crucial part of GEA’s work and it owns a number of portable gas analysers including PID detectors for the measurement of volatile organic compounds and a landfill gas analyser for a range of common gases. However, the company’s in-house instruments are regularly supplemented by gas analysers rented from Ashtead Technology, an arrangement Penfold believes gives GEA a high degree of flexibility; “Hiring instruments when we need them means that we can use exactly the right instruments, just for the time we need them and no longer, which saves costs and ensures that we have the best kit for every job.”
Ashtead Technology operates a large fleet of the latest environmental testing and monitoring instruments, which are maintained and calibrated in-house so they can be delivered ready for use at any European location within 48 hours. The landfill gas analyser routinely rented by GEA is a Geotech GA2000, capable of measuring CH4, CO2, O2, CO and H2S.

Now Geotech has introduced the new GA5000 into its fleet. It is not only Ex approved but also provides accurate readings (+/-0.5% for CH4 and CO2) in half the time of its predecessor. According to Will Russell, one of Ashtead’s technical support engineers: “It is smaller and lighter with a new colour screen that works in all light conditions and features new intuitive menus, with a choice of languages, which guide users through the measurement process.”
Ashtead has been appointed a rental partner for Geotech, the manufacturer of the GA5000 and Penfold adds: “The release of a new landfill gas analyser exemplifies the benefits of instrument hire because it provides continuous access to the best available technology.”

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