The UK has a risk-based approach to contaminated land regeneration and management. This is not a one size fits all!
A risk based approach to the assessment of contaminated land helps us to develop cost effective and sustainable solutions for our clients. Whether the investigation is for local government contaminated land department under Part II a, or for a large commercial development the risk assessment process is central to the interpretation of findings.
The development of a conceptual model forms part of the Qualitative Risk Assessment process. As more information becomes available through more investigation and analysis, so the conceptual model can be updated and developed. There may come a point when the process moves to a Quantitative Risk Assessment process.
The risk assessment process is ‘tiered’, it could be a simple comparison with published generic assessment criteria, for example concentrations of a metal when compared with idealised values. Moving through the tiers the comparison could be against site specific values, which we have generated by modelling specific on site conditions. It may even go further to actually measure parameters, estimated or assumed in the earlier tiers, by analysis and monitoring to generate real site specific values for exposure.
The idea is to determine whether significant contaminant (Source-Pathway-Receptor) linkages exist on the site. If they do during generic assessments then more site-specific assessments may be required to determine their significance. If they are still deemed significant then remedial works may be required to mitigate them.
Site specific risk assessments can be used to fully assess the requirement of remediation and to ensure the remediation is as cost effective as possible. Remediating a site to conservative generic assessment criteria can be far more costly than producing site specific values that are based on actual site conditions.
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