Land Remediation is the process of restoring land to its original state or to a base standard to protect the environment, human health, or buildings. This often entails the removal of site pollutants or contaminants such as soils, surface water, and groundwater, but can include stabilization of in-situ soils or containing contaminated soils by the use of cover systems.
Any contaminated land is viable for remediation if the end goal is to improve the site’s current state. There are a number of different settings that are often polluted or are lacking in suitable environmental standards, these generally being:
The restoration of contaminated sites is often considered when redevelopment is expected to take place. For redevelopment to occur the land must be removed of any contaminated that could be harmful and any new material imported must meet specific regulatory criteria. Remediating these sites is important to allow for future developments because they would otherwise be left in their current poor conditions, which could be harmful to humans, ecosystems, and groundwater.
After contaminated land has been restored to the correct regulatory standards, redevelopment can take place. The development of these sites can have both environmental and financial benefits to the surrounding areas.
Land remediation project follows a four-stage process that returns these site back to a reusable state:
Extensive desk research to understand the history of the site and it geographical/geological content.
Borehole drilling, sample collections, and laboratory testing. A thorough risk assessment to identify all sources of contamination, the receptors (i.e. human health, water resources, ecosystems) that may be damaged and the pathways between them and evaluating whether linkages constitute a significant risk and setting appropriate targets.
An options appraisal to select the best technology, balancing costs and benefits of clean-up, and the sustainability of the options. This informs the implementation plan, which sets out how the objectives will be met.
Monitoring to assess whether all the objectives have been achieved, with the relevant evidence duly presented.
(Source: GOV.UK, Land Remediation: Bringing brownfield sites back to use, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/land-remediation-bringing-brownfield-sites-back-to-use/land-remediation-bringing-brownfield-sites-back-to-use)
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