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agb Environmental’s Guide to Cost Effective Remediation

Buying and developing potentially contaminated sites can be a risky business. Offering guidance from the initial desk study to successful remediation validation, agb Environmental offers three tips for cost effective solutions.

1. Thorough Site Assessment
The first thing is to have a thorough and good quality Phase 1 Desk Study undertaken by a competent and insured company. This should ensure that any environmental or ground stability issues are highlighted at an early stage of development.

agb Environmental can offer a high quality, rigorous assessment of the site, including a site walkover in accordance with current guidance. Where necessary, a Phase 2 Site Investigations would be recommended and designed taking into account factors such as access and development-design constraints, as well as client development budgets. A phased investigation is in-accordance with current guidance and is generally more cost effective, even for small sites.

These assessments would be undertaken by our team of specialists, who offer a strong portfolio across a range of sites including former petrol stations, hospitals, gas works, MOD facilities, chemical manufacturing facilities, landfills and schools.

Our extensive project management services, in conjunction with the client’s design of the development, can be combined to ensure that the various factors of the former uses of the site, and its intended use, are taken into account and communicated to the client. Teamwork with the rest of the ownership/design team and “joined-up thinking” is the key to finding solutions to the various challenges brownfield sites can present.

The requirement for remediation is a “risk based” approach and completing further phases of site assessment when the contamination is identified can be worthwhile when considering the wider development funding and programme. The soil or groundwater may well be impacted with particular contaminants, yet the cost-benefit analysis of undertaking site specific detailed quantitative risk assessments are normally positive.

2. Choose The Correct Remediation Technology
Our team can design, source, undertake and supervise the optimum solution to the contamination issues affecting your site. There are many varied remediation techniques that agb Environmental can provide, once the type and extent of contamination has been ascertained.

For a cost effective solution, a company experienced in both ex-situ and in-situ methods will be needed so that the most cost effective design of remediation technique is made. It is important that there is sufficient time and costs to enable the remedial solution to be agreed (in-advance) with the relevant Regulatory Authorities, but also the validation and verification of the success of these remedial works.

The site conditions and site-specific constraints may have a strong influence upon the remedial technique applied. For example, small sites or those surrounded by existing residential properties may require or benefit from the use of in-situ methods. Alternatively, large sites or long development programmes, can enable ex-situ treatment of soils followed by validated re-use of the soils.

Obviously the nature of the contaminants controls the applicable remedial methods, but with planning and coordination it may be possible to undertake innovative remedial techniques or have a “zero” waste soil budget. Minimisation of off-site disposal of soils and import of soil materials can be successful with planning by the design team and all subcontractors.

3. Validation
Any remediation activities should be detailed in a validation (or close out) report. This report provides the evidence base that the developer has undertaken the remediation to ensure that the site is suitable for the proposed use. Without this report, it is likely that the development will stall when being sold to the end users.

In most cases, this report will be required as part of the planning conditions, and must be discharged prior to occupation (and in some cases prior to development even commencing). There may also be a requirement for a long-term monitoring regime, the specification of which will be detailed in the validation report.

The validation report will always refer back to the phase 1 and phase 2 reports, referencing the identified contamination. This important step ensures that all of risks have been adequately dealt with and that the remediated site is then suitable for use.

For further information on remediation contact Alex Brearley on 01638 663226.


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