Management of contaminated sites

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Investigation and remediation of contaminated sites

The investigation of contaminated sites involves a series of works performed systematically. Therefore, the sources of contamination and the general geological and hydrogeological characteristics are identified in the first phase, then the concentration of contaminants (e.g. chemicals) in the soil and groundwater is measured. The results of laboratory analyzes are interpreted to determine the degree of soil and groundwater contamination in comparison with the applicable limits and a risk assessment is performed to determine any risks to human health and the environment that are generated by the contaminants present.

Based on the information obtained and several specific studies, the remediation works of the contaminated sites can be identified and designed. The costs are estimated through a feasibility study, and subsequently price corrections are made through the technical remediation project

All phases involving the management of contaminated sites must be performed by experts with knowledge of environmental engineering, toxicology, geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry and geotechnical engineering. For reasons related to the high number of variables involved, it is a fine line between a successful low-budget project and a total high-budget failure.

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For a contaminated site management project to be successful, it must meet the following characteristics:

  • The concentration and distribution of contaminants must be known as accurately as possible.
  • Geological, geotechnical and hydrogeological conditions must be identified in detail.
  • Contaminant transport models must take into account subsequent development plans.
  • The optimal remediation solution is identified based on the property of contaminants and environmental conditions.
  • The higher the degree of knowledge of the specific site conditions, the greater the efficiency of the remedial solution.
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