Dealing with contaminated land: Compliance

Hazardous Waste Management director Chris Lynch offers a few thoughts on the classification of hazardous waste, a precursor to making a decision about remediation.


With the hot topic of brownfield development throughout the UK in mind, it is becoming ever more pressing to ensure that any on-site or off-site remediation of contaminated land is handled in a fully compliant and cost effective manner.  The majority of main contractors and developers will hand the task of dealing with the contamination issues over to a sub-contractor or ground-worker.  It is important that contractors responsible for dealing with the waste on site ensure the right information is available in order to dispose of the waste legally.
Thorough testing of soil by an accredited laboratory should include speciated TPH / PAH / full metals suite and BTEX data, he said. Asbestos screening is also critical as many soil treatment facilities are unable to accept any asbestos contaminated soils.
The Guidance on the Classification and Assessment of Waste – Technical Guidance WM3 document is quite definite on the matter that Key Point Landfill WAC analysis (specifically leaching test results) must not be used for waste classification or hazardous waste assessment purposes. WAC analysis is only applicable for landfill acceptance and does not give any indication as to whether the waste may be hazardous or non-hazardous.
Once contamination has been properly classified by the waste producer, the decision would then be made on whether to go ahead with either on-site remediation (if space and time limits allow) or off-site remediation (if space is an issue, time is key to the project, or the legacy of hazardous soil had to be removed from site on a residential development).
The preferred choice of many developers is zero to landfill which is becoming increasingly achievable due to the increase of treatment facilities in the UK. When material is being remediated on site or is moving off site to a licenced facility for treatment and regeneration, it can be said that a good level of care has been achieved whilst carrying out the waste management plan on the project.