The Environmental Protection Agency handles roughly one million facilities dealing with contaminated land. Many of these areas carry their pollution literally beneath the surface. Neglecting the soil in a construction project can come with big costs. Contaminated land can cause health problems among project participants and community members. It also leads to more difficult or complex fixes if not handled
Worried about contamination in a project? Interested in learning about the ways people fix it? Keep reading, and we’ll tell you all about it.
Why and How Should I Test My Soil?
Before soil remediation comes soil testing. Testing can prevent or provide guidance on both short-term problems, such as illnesses among project staff, and long-term problems, like spreading a contaminant into the community.
The importance of testing rises if the project includes demolition elements, too. Demolition work can release waste into the site soil, some of which poses no threat. Sometimes demolition releases dangerous contaminants like asbestos.
Testing for every contaminant takes too much time and money. The testing phase also includes a history of the project site. A history lets the testing organization know which contaminants would make sense and what to test for.
Types of Remediation
Soil stabilization uses processes that have been around for thousands of years to heal the soil. This process mixes new chemicals into the soil. It works well for inorganic contaminants, which interact with the new chemicals and become non-toxic chemicals.
Biopiles use a variety of methods to aerate the soil in a faster, more complex way than allowed by simple tilling and plowing. It can also include soil amendments, and be supplemented by other methods.
Soil washing encompasses many techniques that use water to separate soil particles from contaminants. Contaminants attach more easily to clay and silt, and the process can separate contaminated parts from uncontaminated ones.
Other types also exist for specific applications and contaminants. Soil heavily contaminated with nitrogen, for instance, can be transported to farmland.
What Does It Cost?
While you should undertake testing during construction, remediation can vary wildly in cost. Even the same method can cost under $200 per cubic meter or more than $600, depending on the contaminants. Less common methods can cost even more.
Paying tens of thousands of dollars for remediation can seem like a lot, but remediation benefits a project in the long term. Pacific Gas & Electric recently settled multiple pollution-related lawsuits for several million dollars each. A project will often eventually incur these costs one way or the other.
Protect Your Investment
A wide-ranging initiative like a construction project requires care in every step of the process. While it’s only one step, soil remediation adds value and protects that project in the long term.
We offer a wide range of earthworks services for every step of your project. Even if you don’t need remediation in specific, take a look at some of our offerings.