How Will Contaminated Soil Affect My Construction Project?

As the pool of available land becomes smaller, companies have begun buying up discounted contaminated land. While this is a good business strategy, contaminated soil or groundwater can pose a serious health threat to builders and businesses alike.

While health consequences vary depending on levels of exposure and the types of chemicals, scientists can agree that contaminated land can affect an entire community. The polluted soil can harm anyone who treads on the land, plays in the soil or inhales vapours released to the surrounding atmosphere . Chemicals in the soil can also leach  into the local  groundwater aquifer,  placing the health of entire communities who uses the aquifer at risk.

With the reduction in the quantity of virgin land in prime locations companies have begun turning to remediation contractors to redeem the value of the land so it can be reused.. However, fixing the land is often time consuming and costly. An environmental remediation company may employ a variety of methods to effectively and safely remediate the soil. Since every plot of land, ranging from a contaminated brownfield site to an old mining area, is different, each method of remediation is different. Environmental contractors work with consultants to provide land owners with the best cost effective approach based on the nature of the contaminates, the owner's plans and the owner's timeframe. They handle all logistics with respect to the remediation process, including acquisition of permits and approvals, site set-up, earth movement, treatment, compaction of material in any excavation and final grading and restoration

Soil can be remediated using in-situ or ex-situ methods.

Typical in-situ soil remediation methods include

  • Biopiles (Biological): This method uses indigenous bacteria to break down petroleum hydrocarbons in excavated soil.
  • Bio Reduction and Stabilization (Biological): This method typically only needs one cycle where microorganisms change conditions in the soil so metals can precipitate near iron or sulfur.
  • Chemical Destruction (Chemical): This method blends amendment chemicals with impacted, excavated soils.
  • Chemical Stabilization by Reduction and Oxidation (Chemical): This method converts leachate toxic or hazardous soils into non-hazardous soils when the less soluble compounds in the soil precipitate.
  • Soil Washing (Physical): This method uses surfactants to separate PHCs from soil.
  • Material Segregation (Physical): This method uses different screening plants to segregate soil and solid waste.

Contaminated groundwater, on the other hand often poses more problems. While approaches vary, some of the popular approaches used are:

  • Oil and Water Separators: This method uses pumps and oil booms to remove non-aqueous phase liquids.
  • Sediment Filters: This method uses filter vessels and mesh bags with specific measurements in microns to treat groundwater and remove sediment.
  • Granular Activated Carbon Filters: This method uses GAC in a vessel to strip organics from the water.
  • Organo-Clays Filters: This method removes oils from liquid using GAC in an Organo-clay vessel.
  • Chelating Resins Filters: This method uses vessels to remove heavy metals.
  • Air Stripper: This method uses air to strip the Vinyl Chloride from water.
  • Bioreacters and Chemicals: This method uses microorganisms and chemicals to treat organic and inorganic elements in water.

Owning and building on land with contaminated soil or groundwater is harmful not just for your company, but also for the surrounding environment. It is in your best interest to remediate the contaminated elements as quickly as possible. FERRO Canada has an excellent support team that can be of assistance during any step of the remediation process. For more information about remediating land, call the C.R.A.S.H. team at 1-877-429-7760 or contact FERRO today.

2 Responses

  1. Soil remediation can sound like a scary prospect, but there are a variety of ways to get it done these days - some of them even fully organic. With land at a premium, contaminated land can still be an affordable solution with the cost of remediation figured in.
  2. Soil stabilization is the best way to treat contaminated soil. These stabilizers provide strength to the soil. It would be great if you could share more details about chemical soil stabilization.

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