Local Authorities and warrantors (such as the NHBC or LABC) will frequently impose conditions on new projects requiring the developer to demonstrate that the site will not pose a risk to end users or controlled waters due to the presence of contamination. The conditions often require a phased approach to be taken to the risk assessment.
The first stage requires the provision of a preliminary contamination risk assessment, commonly known as a desk study. The desk study involves a review of historical maps and other available data, along with a walkover survey of the site, to identify if any potentially contaminative activities may be present, or have taken place historically, on or in the vicinity of the site. This allows the development of a conceptual site model identifying potential contamination sources and how they may be linked to the identified receptors.
If the desk study identifies the potential for contamination to be present, then the next stage is typically to undertake an intrusive ground investigation. The ground investigation enables sampling and testing of the underlying soils and, if necessary, groundwater to be carried out in order to determine if risks actually exist and/or whether any further investigation works are required.
In the event that the ground investigation concludes that risks are present then usually a report detailing the remedial measures required to safeguard end users of the development and any sensitive water receptors will need to be prepared. This report is commonly known as a Remediation Strategy and will include details of how the remedial works are to be verified, known as a verification plan.
Typically remediation works may include the removal or encapsulation of contaminated soils, the treatment of groundwater, or some other method of protection depending on the specific nature of the contaminants, the development proposal for the site and it’s environmental setting.
Finally, once all of the agreed remedial works have been undertaken, a verification report is ordinarily required by the regulators confirming the measures that were adopted and how these have been verified.
If you would like to discuss any of the above processes, then please contact us.